UGC's take on the exam

June 28, 2020 · blog

The news came a day after the Union HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank announced that his ministry has advised UGC to revisit guidelines for intermediate and terminal Semester examinations. On Wednesday, the HRD minister tweeted: "I have advised the UGC 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."

The panel has suggested that the students should be evaluated based on their performance in the previous semester. The committee was formed by the Higher Education Regulator, to come up with alternative proposals for assessing students in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic and its recent surge even after three months of lockdown. The committee, headed by the Vice-Chancellor of Haryana University, Dr. RC Kuhad recommended that “the final semester examinations, due in July in most universities as per the revised academic calendar, cannot be held due to the risk of exposure to lakhs of students,” as officials in the HRD ministry told The New Indian Express. However, the committee has also taken into account a different view that some students might have hoped to perform better in the final semester and would be unhappy with their previous performances. In view of this, the committee believed that the students, who are unhappy for being assessed with their previous performance, shall get a chance to improvise their scores by taking an examination after the pandemic.

After taking into these serious recommendations into a discussion, the UGC is expected to come up with detailed and comprehensive guidelines for higher education institutes on the road ahead during this difficult time. These recommendations will have an effect on forty central universities and other states, private, and deemed universities and colleges. However, four states - Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana - have already decided to scrap the university and college exams in the respective states. 

Apart from this, the committee has also recommended that sessions should be deferred from August to October for fresh and old students alike. After decades, for the first time, Indian colleges will start its sessions along with institutes of western countries, where session begins in the fall. This recommendation would also contradict the plan of India’s preemie institutes like IITs, which were already mulling over to start new sessions online amidst the pandemic. It was in fact reported that IITs have sought government intervention to allow Ph.D. students to return to its campuses, while others were allowed to carry on e-learning.

The higher education, along with other sectors, is worst affected by the pandemic. The UGC guidelines are revisited after monitoring the ground reality. However, for the interest of the students, the UGC must give directives to all the colleges, whereby students do not remain in dark. This requires better planning and taking expert opinions into considerations. Apart from this, the governmental help must be sought to ensure that students are able to take benefits of stopgap arrangements, as proposed by the UGC over three months.

This blog article is compiled by QS IGAUGE.

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