Revised Guidelines Are ‘Unfortunate’: Former UGC Chairman
The revised guidelines for final year university exams by the University Grants Commission, or UGC, have created “fresh uncertainty” regarding the conduct of final year exams, according to Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat, former Chairman of the commission.
The University Grants Commission’s latest guidelines on examinations are “unfortunate” and have created “fresh uncertainty” by extending the period of holding final-year exams till September, according to Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat, former Chairman of the UGC.
In a letter addressed to the Chairman of UGC, Prof. Throat reiterated demands by teachers and students to cancel final year exams and grade students using alternative methods. The other signatories of the letter are 28 professors from institutes across the country, including Delhi University, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.
“The recommendation to cancel exams was prompted by an unprecedented health emergency, not by doubts about [the] value of examinations,” the letter said.
Prof. Throat argued that the uncertainty of COVID-19 pandemic will result in repeated postponements, which can be avoided altogether by adopting alternative methods of evaluation, including past performance of students.
Online Exams Biased
Cancelling exams, according to Prof. Throat, will end the uncertainty caused by the “repeated” and “unavoidable” postponements and help in protecting “integrity” of examinations as online exam may not give equal opportunities to all students and lacks in the feature of “close supervision to prevent cheating”.
“Given the realities facing the overwhelming majority of our students and institutions, examinations held in the “online” or “mixed” modes will be biased as they will favour students with better access to internet….” the letter said. The revised guidelines by UGC suggest conducting final-year examinations in online, offline, or blended (online+offline) mode.
“Cancelling exams during a pandemic is sensible and fair precisely because examinations must not be devalued,” the letter added.