The Home Office (MHA) has told the Supreme Court that it has allowed limited opening of educational institutions across the country to conduct last year’s exams, as ordered by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on July 6th. According to UGC policy, colleges / universities should take the exam before September 30, 2020 either online, offline, or by mixing the two.
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the MHA stated that the decision was made after considering the academic interests of a large number of students. The question of whether UGC will be allowed to hold the exams for the final year is being discussed in the Supreme Court with several motions filed by students and parents to cancel the exams in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Apex court is expected to take up the matter on Friday.
With the Disaster Protection Act, the MHA received an application from the Ministry of Personnel Development (MHRD) on July 4th to open universities and educational institutions. This request was examined and answered on 6 July by the Union Minister of the Interior. The affidavit states: “Taking into account the academic interests of a large number of students, it was decided to grant an exemption for opening educational institutions for the purpose of conducting examinations / evaluations for final exams of universities / institutions. ”
The affidavit goes on to say: “While the aforementioned guidelines continue to stipulate that schools, universities, educational and coaching institutions remain closed until August 31, 2020, the universities / institutions are and should be clearly excluded from the aforementioned restriction for the Limited except for its purpose of conducting final exams / evaluation work within the meaning of the UGC guidelines for exams. ”
Delhi and Maharashtra have spoken out against the UGC’s decision to hold exams and have canceled final exams at their respective state universities. The UGC informed the Apex court earlier this week that states cannot afford to cancel exams as they are bound by the July 6 UGC ordinance. However, states claimed that this decision was made under the current Civil Protection Act. Both Delhi and Maharashtra had prescribed an internal grading system for evaluating students.
UGC had expressed doubts whether the degrees awarded in this way could be valid without examinations. The Apex court asked UGC to submit its position on oath. Accordingly, UGC has also submitted an affidavit informing the Apex court that all states have agreed to the recommendation of a committee of experts dated May 6, 2020 to conduct final audits.
The UGC’s affidavit states: “The state government had accepted the recommendation (dated May 6, 2020) of a committee of experts to conduct final exams at state universities. It turns out that the said committee of experts actually recommended that final exams be held in the state from July 1 to July 31. However, this decision was later overturned by the state agency and state government. contrary to the guidelines of the UGC. It is therefore wrong to claim that it will not be possible to conduct the final exams in accordance with the UGC guidelines. “
The UGC emphasized and justified the need to conduct final exams, whether in the form of a final exam at the end of the program or an annual final exam, as this is a crucial step in a student’s academic career.
The affidavit goes on to say that the July 6 UGC guidelines took into account the practical difficulties institutions and students might face and therefore provided for the exams to be online, offline, or a mixture of both modes be performed. It was also stipulated that the exam must take place before September 30th and that any student who for any reason cannot take the exam will be given a special chance later.