Former University Grants Commission (UGC) chair Sukhdeo Thorat, along with 27 teachers from various universities across the country, has written to the current chairperson of the commission, asking him to cancel the decision to hold exams for final semester/year students and instead evaluate them on past performance.
The letter addressed to UGC chairman D P Singh, sent on Thursday, has been signed by professors from Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, University of Hyderabad, University of Mumbai and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, among others.
“The UGC’s latest advisory on examinations is unfortunate because it takes us backwards rather than forward. It effectively extends the period for holding of exams (for final year/semester cohorts) until September, the second such postponement. And it creates fresh uncertainty for states that had already decided to cancel exams,” the letter says.
“The recommendation to cancel exams was prompted by an unprecedented health emergency, not by doubts about the value of examinations. When faced with such an emergency, cancelling exams has two main advantages: First, it avoids the extended uncertainty created by repeated (but unavoidable) postponements. Second, it protects the integrity of the examination by refusing to abandon its two most basic features – impartiality, or equal treatment of all examinees; and close supervision to prevent cheating,” it says.
The signatories said examinations held “online” or in “mixed” modes will be “biased because they will favour students with better access to the Internet and work against students whose access is precarious” and since “there is no viable method of ensuring proper invigilation of online exams”, terming them “open book” is an “attempt to rename a failing as a virtue”.
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