UGC releases new Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for Universities: Students oppose the uncertainty
July 7: The University Grants Commission (UGC) constituted an Expert Committee to deliberate and make recommendations regarding the issues related to Examinations and Academic Calendar.
The committee had seent in reports on April 29th. Thereafter, the committee was requested by the UGC to revisit the Guidelines and suggest options for examinations, admissions in the Universities/ Colleges and also for the beginning of the new academic session, given the ever-rising COVID cases in India.
India has now surpassed Russia in Covid-19 cases to become the 3rd worst-hit country in the world, and in the cognizance, UGC had asked the committee to revise the guidelines.
Thereafter, in a meeting held on 06.07.2020 accepted the Report of the Expert Committee and approved the ‘UGC Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities because of COVID-19 Pandemic’
The highlights of the Guidelines as per UGC’s Press Release are as follows:
Given the emerging situation related to COVID-19 pandemic in India, it is important to safeguard the principles of health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for students. At the same time, it is very crucial to ensure academic credibility, career opportunities and future progress of students globally. Academic evaluation of students is a very important milestone in any education system. The performance in examinations gives confidence and satisfaction to the students and is a reflection of competence, performance and credibility that is necessary for global acceptability.
The terminal semester(s)/ final year(s) examinations be conducted by the universities/institutions by the end of September, 2020 in offline (pen & paper)/ online/ blended (online + offline) mode.
The students of terminal semester/ final year students having backlog should compulsorily be evaluated by conducting examinations in offline (pen & paper)/ online/ blended (online + offline) mode as per feasibility and suitability.
In case a student of the terminal semester/ final year is unable to appear in the examination conducted by the University for whatsoever the reason(s) may be, he/she may be allowed to appear in special examinations for such course(s)/ paper(s), which may be conducted by the university as and when feasible so that the student is not put to any inconvenience/ disadvantage. The above provision shall be applicable only for the current academic session 2019-20 as a one-time measure.
The guidelines regarding intermediate semester/ year examination, as notified on 29.04.2020 will remain unchanged.
If need be, the relevant details about the Admissions and Academic Calendar in the universities and colleges shall be issued separately in place of those mentioned in the earlier guidelines issued on 29th April 2020.
Though these guidelines look over several issues, from the unavailability of certain amenities like internet connection and gadgets for online exams, there still is the underlying issue of time that is slipping away through the students’ hands rendering them vulnerable to unemployment and dwindling career choices.
“UGC is playing with the student’s career. I don’t understand what is the reason for conducting the final exams, and if you are conducting then why in September end?”, says a student from Pondicherry University.
“There’s no need to keep lengthening this thing now, if there are people with backlogs, let them do the exams, we have been working so hard to get good placements, I don’t think there should be any exams for people who have clear academic records,” says a final year student from a Technology College in Sikkim.
“I don’t know. If the government thinks it’s right for us to face the exams we will face it. Time is running away and I want to pursue my goal of finding a good job and helping my family, studying even in a government college has been hard because we come from a humble background. I can work odd jobs without a degree, but having one would give me good options,” says Nikita from Sikkim University.
She adds, “This (pandemic) situation is something no one asked for but I think it is useless to keep postponing the exams, either do it quickly or not at all. No one can predict what this year has yet to bring.”