Final Year/Semester Exams are a Mandate: Says Pokhriyal at the Vice-Chancellor’s Meet

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    In a recent webinar organized by the Association of Indian Universities and Vice-Chancellor’s Meet, Union Education Minister Dr. Ramesh Pokriyal Nishank was seen defending UGC’s decision to conduct the final year/semester examination. This is a debate that had fuelled up since UGC’s declaration to cancel the intermediate year examination while holding the same for the terminating year. Floods of petitions and PILs were filed challenging the UGC’s guidelines, stating that final-year students’ health and wellness are equally important. And that UGC seems to be neglecting this facet.

    What did Dr. Ramesh Pokriyal Nishank Say?

    Dr. Pokhriyal said that the decision to conduct the final year examination is solely for the students’ benefit. The last semester exams play a vital role in determining students’ overall performance in the higher education scenario, which will open the viable job prospects in the future. But if the examinations are canceled, the students will be awarded general scores keeping in mind their performance in the previous semesters. This will be an injustice for those meritorious students who put in their hard work for their graduation and post-graduation.

    Why this Debate?

    After a lot of tumults, UGC finally waved the green signal on 6 July 2020 for universities to conduct the final year examinations via online, offline, or blended mode. Dr. Pokriyal said that after contacting several universities, it was found that most of them have either started with the process of conducting the examinations or are planning to do the same. The move was appreciated by UGC but scorned by the students and guardians. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by a group of 31 final year students was filed challenging the guidelines. The petition said that UGC was extraordinarily ruthless and unfair to last year’s students. The students wanted the Supreme Court to interfere and grant relief to the final year students regarding the crucial aspects of health, safety, job, and admission opportunities.

    What is the Current Status?

    The apex court of justice in India has adjourned the hearing on UGC’s guidelines for final year/semester exams until 18 August. Although, the situations are likely to be in favor of UGC, meaning that the last year students will have to write their examinations in either offline, online, or blended mode. Many states, including Maharashtra, Odisha, Delhi, etc., have canceled the final year exams stating that it is impossible to conduct the examinations due to the worsening effect of COVID-19. There is little to no respite, and the graph is reaching a new high with each passing day.

    The University of Delhi is conducting its Open Book Examination (OBE) for the final year students. But as usual, students are facing technical glitches. In a recent update, the question paper for the Political Science Department of DU was changed one hour after the commencement of the examination. Such scenarios compel everybody to ponder over the feasibility of the OBE. And whether it is any good to conduct examinations at the expense of sanity of students.

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