July 11, 2020 5:08:37 am
The UGC guidelines on final year examinations are binding in nature, a senior official of the HRD Ministry told The Indian Express, even as four states have written to the Union government in protest.
On July 6, the higher education regulator advised all institutions to hold examinations for terminal semester or final year by September-end.
At least four states — West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra and Punjab — have objected to the UGC’s guidelines since and expressed their inability to comply. On Friday, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi joined the chorus of protest and said “exams should be cancelled and students promoted on the basis of past performance”.
The Union government, however, is unlikely to withdraw the exam-related guidelines. In fact, the UGC will insist these are adopted by all universities and colleges.
“Without examination, the degrees will not hold any value and will affect the employability of this batch. Should we adopt a populist approach and promote everyone en masse or keep the future of these students in mind?” the senior HRD Ministry official said.
The official added that the state governments cannot decide the fate of the examinations since the UGC is empowered by law to issue guidelines on the conduct of examinations.
“Section 12 of the UGC Act 1956 clearly states that the UGC can take all such steps as it may think fit for the promotion and coordination of University education and for the determination and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination and research in Universities,” a UGC official said. And under the 2003 UGC Regulation on grant of first degree, universities have to adopt exam-related guidelines issued by the commission from time to time, the official added.
The commission and the HRD Ministry haven’t replied to the letters written by the state governments yet.
Asked how universities will conduct exams if their buildings are being used for quarantine, the UGC official said, “Universities have time till September to conduct exams and they have the autonomy to decide how they want to do it. And not all educational institutions are being used for quarantine.”
On Friday, the Congress launched a social media campaign with several top leaders putting out video messages slamming the UGC and asking it to reconsider its decision.
In his message, Rahul said, “Covid has harmed a lot of people. Our students in schools, colleges and universities had to face many hardships. The IITs and colleges have promoted students after cancelling the examinations. The UGC is creating confusion. The UGC should also cancel the examinations and promote students based on their past performance.”
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