Gangtok, June 25: Government sources on Wednesday said that board exams of final- year students in higher educational institutions scheduled to be held in July were likely to be cancelled. With that, the commencement of the new academic session would be postponed to October.

Given the countrywide surge in Covid-19 positive cases, the University Grants Commission (UGC) was said to be considering advising colleges and universities to cancel their final year examinations and semester examinations, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

A tweet on Wednesday by Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said that he had advised UGC to see over and relook the earlier set guidelines, “The foundation for revisited guidelines shall be health and safety of students, teachers and staff,” he said.

The tweet itself said, “I have advised the @ugc_india to revisit the guidelines issued earlier for intermediate and Terminal Semester examinations and academic calendar. The foundation for revisited guidelines shall be health and safety students, teachers and staff.”
(https://twitter.com/DrRPNishank/status/1275737398840709120)

The earlier guidelines by the UGC to hold the final year exams in July is likely to be scrapped along with the delay of the new academic year’s commencement which was set in August 1st in the earlier UGC guidelines. The new guidelines will be shared later this week, sources from the HRD ministry said to Times of India.

A senior UGC officer also informed, “For a small college with 500 students in the final year, their project reports can be checked and graded. But for large State universities, with two to three lakh students from affiliated institutions, it will be impossible to check that many projects report.”

This news came a day before the Supreme Court’s verdict on the pending X and XII exams which were on hold because of many separate petitions filed by parents. The court said it would consider the separate petitions filed by parents of students of both the CBSE and the ICSE, today. The Centre, on Wednesday, submitted a sealed report to the Supreme Court regarding the CBSE board exams.

The plea seeking cancellation of the remaining CBSE exams was heard today by the Supreme Court bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar. Four parents led by Retd. Colonel Amit Bathla had first approached the SC to which the Court had issued a notice seeking a response from CBSE. Advocate Rishi Malhotra led the main petitioners.

CBSE had informed the SC on Tuesday that the decision about cancellations is at an advanced stage. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared on behalf of CBSE and Central Government. Similarly, senior advocate Jaideep Gupta appeared for ICSE Board.

The following transpired at the hearing:

• CBSE informed that the exams that were to happen from July 1-15 would not happen. The exams for class X are scrapped while for Class XII option of appearing for the exams when the conditions were more favourable.

• CBSE further added that students who wanted the option of not taking the exam, there would be a scheme for assessment based on past three exams. The scheme is to be notified latest by tomorrow.

• ICSE board also informed the SC that in principle it agrees to the scheme proposed for CBSE.

• The Court notified that favourable conditions might vary from state to state. Centre must consider when they will revisit their decision. Maybe after a month, said the Court.

•Mehta informed that no student will miss on entrance exams and that the results of the assessment will be out by July 15.

• ICSE board also cancelled X exams, the decision on holding XII exam in future to be taken later, informed ISCE.

• Supreme Court advised the boards that there needs to be clarity in the notification as the delay in conducting board exams would clash with the Admission process of different universities.

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