UGC Guidelines for University Exams 2020: The Supreme Court has sought a reply from the University Grants Commission (UGC) on a plea filed by a group of students against its decision to hold final year exams by September-end. A petition filed is up for hearing in the apex court by a group of students, including a COVID positive student, demanding cancellation of final exams as they claim it is against the “right to life”. However, as per the revised guidelines of the UGC, universities should hold the term-end exams by September-end.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that replies be filed by UGC and the Centre on the pleas and posted the matter for hearing on July 31. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, that they are only concerned with final year exams and out of over 800 universities in the country, 209 have completed the examinations, as reported by the PTI.
Mehta said that around 390 universities are in the process of conducting the examinations. Referring to the guidelines issued by the authorities, he said students can appear in the examinations online, offline, or mixture of both. The bench said a consolidated reply be filed on the batch of petitions, including the one filed by Shiv Sena”s youth wing ”Yuva Sena”, and posted it for hearing on July 31, as reported by PTI.
The counsel appearing for one of the petitioners told the bench that several states have raised objections over conducting exams amid the pandemic.
Since the UGC has released its revised guidelines making it compulsory to hold final year exams, the decision has been widely criticised. While students and academicians across India have been demanding mass promotion based on internal assessment, UGC has maintained its stance. While addressing the Bombay High court, the UGC had said, “The decision to cancel final year exams would directly affect the standards of higher education in India.”
The former UGC chief, chief ministers of several states including Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee among others have written letters demanding cancellation of exams. UGC in its defence has said that universities have the freedom to choose the mode of exam – it can be physical, online or even blended.
Seeking details from the UGC on the type of exam, the Delhi High Court judge had orally observed, “It is completely impractical to have timed examinations. We live in the heart of Delhi and there was no electricity or connectivity for hours due to the rain. You have to adopt a method for exams which is practical.”
Human Resource Development Minister (HRD) Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had in a series of tweets emphasised the importance of exams. Pokhriyal wrote, “In any education model, assessment is one of the most important milestones. Performance in exams gives students self-confidence and satisfaction.” He, however, also said that special exams should be held for students who might not be able to appear for exams by September.
A letter written by the former UGC chief had read, “Those who argue that cancelling exams will devalue degrees must explain how holding a farcical ‘virtual’ exam that lacks the basic features of the real thing will enhance their value.”
“Protect 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,” read the letter.
— With Inputs from PTI