To be or not to be : A failed ‘Centre’ policy on final semester/year exams

University Grants Commission (UGC) has released another update on various universities’ plans and preparation for conducting the final year/semester examination. The Commission said that at least 603 universities have either conducted the final year/semester exams or plan on conducting, reports NDTV.

The press statement released by the Commission said,” 209 have already conducted examinations (online/off-line), and 394 are planning to conduct examinations (online/off-line/blended mode) in August or September.” There are a total number of around 950 universities under the UGC purview.

This is third such update provided by the Commission, and in every subsequent update, the number of universities planning to conduct the exam has increased. In the previous update reported on July 19, 560 universities had either conducted or had said that they are planning to conduct the exam.
UGC had also said during the previous update that the final year examination in universities and colleges is a must as it contributes to “merit, lifelong credibility, wider global acceptability for admissions, scholarships, awards, placements, and better future prospects”.

There has been a growing demand by students and parents/guardians that UGC should reconsider its insistence on conducting the exam amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and worsening situation.

There has also been an online petition on for the same for which more than 15000 people have already signed.

​The guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) have been challenged in the Supreme Court. At least 31 students from various universities in 13 states and one union territory moved the top court Saturday. The reason behind to challenge of UGC by filing the petition is, “the petition has sought cancellation of final-year examinations for universities across the country. Results should be declared based on past performance and internal assessment of a student”, it says.

The petitioners have also sought to award of mark sheets and degrees to successful students by July 31, 2020. The 31 petitioners have also demanded the adoption of CBSE mechanism and providing another chance to those dissatisfied with their marks.

The infamous #StudentLivesMatter trend has once again taken Twitter by a storm as students express their discontent over the conduction of end term exams for final year students.

In a letter to the UGC chairman Dhirendra Pal Singh, former chairman Sukhadeo Thorat reiterates demands by students across the country to cancel final year exams. The letter’s other signatories included around 28 professors from various institutes across the country, including Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Several states have issued orders which goes against the UGC guidelines and says that they would be canceling all the university and college examinations in the state amid the COVID-19 crisis. Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana have announced the cancellation of all the exams.

UGC had issued guidelines on July 6, asking universities to conduct the final year examinations. Several states and student bodies have requested the Commission to reconsider the decision amidst the growing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Commission has said several times since then that the final year exam is must for all universities.

Latest update on that Delhi high court on Wednesday asked UGC if final semester/final year examinations can be open choice based or not. Delhi high court also asked the Commission if examinations can be taken through MCQs, Assignments, and presentations. Justice Pratibha M Singh ordered UGC to clarify on the above-mentioned suggestions and have also asked the Commission to explain the importance of guidelines declared in April in which examination conduction options and ways were given. The final hearing will be on Friday.

It is a tragedy of our times that during a historic global crisis, the Centre is taking unilateral decisions on student matters without any concern for their mental and emotional well-being. As they step into an uncertain future, Centre needs to stand with youth, not against them.

“Governments have taken important measures, ranging from issuing a moratorium on EMI payments and delaying the deadline for filing tax returns, to providing free ration and financial assistance to the underprivileged sections of society.

A class of citizens who have also borne a disproportionate burden of this crisis is students in colleges and universities. But they do not appear to have the ear of the Central government.” Manish Sisodia, Deputy chief minister, wrote for Indian Express. By saying this, the deputy minister has also declared the cancellation of Delhi state board examinations.

One of the core duties of governments during natural disasters like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is to soften the blow of the crisis. The hardships people have undergone as a result of the pandemic are unprecedented.The BJP government continues to get mockery and disagreements on insensitive policies on exams.

With university and college classes being almost completely washed out, students have had a raw deal this year. The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and the University Grants Commission (UGC) are bent on worsening their plight. The worst-hit are final-year students — who would ordinarily graduate in June, but this year, they find themselves at the mercy of the UGC.

In its latest guidelines, the central body for maintaining higher educational standards in the country has mandated the conducting of final year examinations, even as it recommended the cancellation of intermediate semester examinations.
When the coronavirus disrupted the teaching-learning process, it negated the very basis of exams.

What will we test our students on? Do we expect them to have deep insights into their final-semester syllabus by birth? The coronavirus pandemic is a once-in-a-century event and if we do not rise to the occasion and respond to it appropriately, we will be failing our citizens. Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures.

Creating chaos among students about examination conduction reflects Centre’s failed decision makings risking an essential subject of any country that is Education. SFI Delhi continues to tweet against UGC guidelines and the Central government’s negligence on examination conduction considering the increasing number of COVID 19 cases.

If Centre force students to carry out this farce, we will have miserably failed our younger generation. Why is government not canceling final semester/year examinations? Continues to haunt students and parents.