As many as 182 universities have conducted final year exams following the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) directive while 274 other universities have plans to hold the exams in next two months, amid protests by a section of students and faculty members.
Last week, the UGC issued a directive to all universities, making it mandatory for them to conduct final year exams by the end of September either in offline, online or a blended mode.
"A total of 182 universities have already conducted the examination in online/offline modes, other 234 universities are planning to conduct examination in August-September. Other 38 universities are planning to conduct the examinations as per the directions of their statutory councils. A total of 177 universities in their response have stated that they are yet to decide on conduct of exams," a UGC official said.
Of the universities that submitted their responses to the UGC till July 15, 120 are deemed-to-be universities, 229 private universities, 40 central universities and 251 State universities.
Of the 640 varsities that have submitted their response to the higher education regulator, 27 are those private universities which were established during 2019-20 to till date. "The first batch of these universities is yet to become eligible for final examination,” the official said.
As per the UGC directive, a total of 903 universities are required to hold exams. “We are awaiting response from the rest of the universities,” the official said.
Going against the UGC’s directive, however, Delhi government ordered for cancellation of exams in all eight universities functioning under its jurisdiction in view of Covid-19 pandemic. It directed them to promote their students to the next semester based on their past performance or any other assessment, and award degrees to final-year students based on similar assessment without any exam.
Delhi Technological University, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha Vishwavidyalaya, Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women are among the eight State universities operating under the Delhi government.
A section of students and teachers are protesting against the UGC directive, demanding cancellation of exams. The protesting students and teachers demand the higher education regulator to allow universities award degrees to final year students based on their performance in past semesters and internal assessments. Delhi University Teachers’ Association and Left-backed student unions are spearheading the protest. But, the UGC is firm on its stand that exams must be conducted for final year students.
“It will put the future of students at stake. Mark-sheets and transcripts have to be issued, mentioning that average marking was done. And, the degrees awarded to students in such a manner will always be known as ‘corona degree’ for the rest of their life,” UGC vice chairman Bhushan Patwardhan recently told Outlook.
Besides the Delhi government, Maharashtra government has also refused to conduct exams in the university in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some agriculture universities in Maharashtra, however, had already conducted exams and reportedly issued degrees with "promoted COVID-19" stamps on them. State government ordered a probe into the matter after BJP leader Ashish Shelar raised the issue.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to ensure that the examinations in universities across the country are canceled “in the larger interest of the students”. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Punjab counterpart Captain Amarinder Singh have also joined the chorus against holding exams during the pandemic, urging PM to review the UGC directive.
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