Though the state government gave nod to promote school students without conducting examinations due to the nationwide lockdown to contain COVID-19 spread, it has ruled out the option for colleges and universities.
Instead, in the case of no examinations, it is contemplating a formula to evaluate students of state universities and its affiliated colleges where it would take into consideration a student’s performance in previous semesters, for instance, graded on an average of previous assessments.
“The mass promotion is completely ruled, legally. It has been legally challenged earlier in the Supreme Court when Gujarat University had issued mass promotion. So, this is not even being considered,” said principal secretary education Anju Sharma.
Also, in such a case, the question of whether all the students would be promoted also arises. This is also being worked out at the state government level.
Recently, the student organisations like Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had demanded mass promotion for students of colleges and universities.
At the same time, sources in the education department have revealed a possibility of reviving the ‘carry forward policy’ for colleges and universities, the policy that existed till two years back.
Under this, a student was promoted in all previous semesters even if the exams were not cleared till the last semester. So, he had to clear all his pending exams in the last semester where he would be detained. Under state government’s reforms for higher education, especially the examination reforms, this policy that was massively used by all the major state run universities was abolished in a phased manner in 2018.
However, these options are being explored for first and second-year undergraduate students and first-year postgraduate students, except all the final-year students.
“The question is in such a case what shall be mentioned in the mark sheets of final-year students which is an important document in a student’s career ahead. Does all these possibilities are being explored at the moment,” said one of the vice-chancellors of a state university.
When asked on the likelihood of a decision and its announcement, Anju Sharma said that it is expected within a fortnight.
“Since numerous parameters and its consequences have to be taken into consideration before taking a final call, we do not want to rush without deliberating with all stakeholders. Also, we do not want any anxiety among students amid the existing confusion over the prevailing conditions,” she said.
Also, many private universities have decided to hold their examinations online.
“We have tied up with the software where students can take online examinations. So the examination in the third week of April would go ahead as per schedule but online,” said M N Patel, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Parul University, Vadodara.
However, the state education department is not convinced with online examinations.
“The question of identity and credibility of online examinations is always questionable. The problem of internet connectivity is another issue,” said the principal secretary education.
Responding to these issues, M N Patel said, “During the time of online teaching, there are various softwares available to conduct online examinations too. For connectivity issues we are trying to figure out a solution in co-ordination with our technical team.”
Already, nearly all the public and private universities in the state have started online teaching and online assessment of assignments.
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