Final-year examinations in universities will have to be conducted by September-end, the HRD Ministry announced, deferring the schedule from July in view of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
However, students unable to appear in final-year exams in September will get another chance and universities will conduct special exams “as and when feasible”, according to a revised guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The decision by the HRD Ministry came following a nod from the Ministry of Home Affairs to conduct the exams as per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) approved by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The announcement has put to rest speculations that the exams for final-year students may be cancelled in view of the COVID-19 situation.
In view of the surge in COVID-19 infections, the UGC’s panel of experts, headed by Haryana University vice-chancellor R C Kuhad, was on June 25 asked to review the final-year examination guidelines issued on April 29. The examinations were scheduled to be held in July.
“The final year examinations will be conducted by the universities or institutions by the end of September in offline, online or blended mode. The students having backlog will compulsorily be evaluated by conducting examinations in offline (pen and paper) online blended (online and offline) mode as per feasibility and suitability,” according to the UGC guidelines.
Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ tweeted, “The UGC has revisited its earlier guidelines related to university examinations.”
The minister said it has been formulated “in view of the safety, career progression and placements of the students and their larger interests, after consulting” the home ministry and the health ministry.
“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 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 guidelines stated. “In case a student of terminal semester or final year is unable to appear in the examination conducted by the university for whatsoever the reason(s) may be, he or she may be given opportunity to appear in special examinations…Which may be conducted by the university as and when feasible, so that the student is not put to any inconvenience or disadvantage,” it said.