Online Petition To PM Modi Demands Withdrawal Of UGC Guidelines On University Exams
The Joint Forum for Movement on Education (JFME) has started an online petition seeking withdrawal of UGC Guidelines and cancellation of final year exams.
The Joint Forum for Movement on Education (JFME) has started an online petition seeking withdrawal of UGC Guidelines and cancellation of final year exams. The petition was started on the platform 'Change.org' and will be submitted to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it receives 1000 digital signatures.
Citing the differential access to digital devices for online education, the petition says that the existing inequalities in education has amplified during the lockdown imposed in light of covid-19 crisis. At a time like this, the UGC's revised guidelines are illogical.
"In this context, the recently released 'UGC Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities in view of COVID-l9 Pandemic', propose illogical and unacademic solutions for evaluating and granting degrees to students," the petition says.
The petition says that UGC's guidelines are supposedly premised on the idea to provide safe, fair, and equal opportunity to students while safeguarding the academic interests of students. It also supposes that online examinations are a viable alternative to regular exams. However, the petition says, both these premises are ill-founded.
Petition says that in addition to the difficulties posed by covid-19, recent floods in several parts of the country and consequent problems of electricity etc. are one of the few difficulties in conducting fair online examinations.
The petition also says that the UGC Guidelines have acknowledged concerns expressed by different State Governments and Universities. The one-size-fits-all approach is not conducive to the diversity in the circumstances of different universities including geographical, socio-economic status, whether they are unitary universities or have affiliated institutions, the relative importance of undergraduate and post-graduate courses, their disciplinary mix, their mediums of instruction and examination, etc.
The guidelines also ignore the fact that Education is in the concurrent list and hence State Governments ought to have a say in the decision.
The petition has also listed reasons which question the credibility of conducting online examinations. It says that online or blended mode of examinations cannot match up to the standards of regular exams in ensuring fairness, credibility and integrity of the process.
The online or blended form of examination is also discriminatory towards those without books, notes and online resources, stable internet connection etc. It is also discriminatory to differently-abled students and those from an underprivileged background.
The petition also stipulates that an examination that cannot monitor the use of unfair means will effectively penalize those who are honest and promote malpractice.
"Other forms of credible and meaningful assessment like internal / continuous assessment and / or average scores of past semesters would meet the criteria of fairness and integrity better," says the petition in favor of alternative modes of assessment.
It also adds that canceling final exams will not lead to an undervalued degree since all semesters are modular and autonomous of each other, students are examined on the courses covered in only one semester and there is no overarching final examination. Students of the final year have already been through several rounds of formal evaluation and assessments and only a small part of the total evaluation is pending.
UGC has already issued guidelines to conduct assessment for intermediate students on the basis of average of past semesters and the internal assessment of the current semester and there is no reason to believe that such an alternative cannot be adopted for final semester.
The forum seeks immediate intervention of the Prime Minister for the withdrawal the UGC Guidelines, the immediate cancellation of the mandatory requirement of examinations for final year students.