State Higher Education Minister Uday Samant on Monday clarified that the government has not taken any decision to cancel university exams in the state.
Samant issued the clarification after speculations about cancellation of university exams started doing the rounds following the school education department’s announcement on Sunday cancelling pending SSC exams as well as Class 9 and 11 exams.
“My department has not taken any decision to cancel (university) exams. Based on recommendations given by a committee, we will decide when, what time and in which manner the exams should be conducted after consulting the Governor. If further uncertain situation arises due to coronavirus, then a decision will also be taken regarding future exams, whether they should be conducted online, should not be conducted, and in which pattern,” Samant clarified in a video. At least for now, university exams are sure to be conducted, the format of which is being decided, he added.
Last week, in a video-conference with vice-chancellors of all 13 non-agricultural universities in the state, the minister formed a six-member committee to present a report on the feasibility of conducting exams in a uniform manner.
The committee is expected to submit its report in the next two-three days. “Nothing has been finalised till now though we have collected inputs from stakeholders. We will be submitting our report soon. The question we are faced with is, when will students be able to come to colleges,” said committee member and Mumbai University Vice-Chancellor Dr Suhas Pednekar.
In the meantime, several stakeholders comprising student organisations and management council members have expressed their views to the department and the universities regarding possible options. Many of them are of the view that the academic year should be extended by a few months to hold exams smoothly.
Management council member of Jalgaon University, P T Chaudhari, said the academic year 2019-20 should be extended till October. “Given that the universities seem unlikely to open even until May-end, the syllabus should be finished as soon as they reopen and exams should be conducted in October. In cases where students are passed without exams, they risk being referred to as ‘corona batch’ by employers, who will show lack of faith in hiring them. This can have negative implications,” he said.
A proposal submitted by the Maharashtra Students Union to the universities has suggested that the academic year for final-year students of semester-based pattern should not be extended, since they will lose one year if they were to apply for higher studies or jobs. “These students should be passed based on marks received in the first and second year. The exams of those students who follow annual-year pattern should be conducted in July, since their syllabus has been completed. Whereas exams of first-year and second-year students should be conducted in December. This will ease the burden on the university,” said president Siddharth Ingle.
As per the University Grants Commission Act 1956, there ought to be at least 180 teaching days in an academic year, and 90 days in a semester. However, many colleges have not yet fulfilled this criteria for the present academic year.
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