The final-term examinations in colleges and higher educational institutions - pending since March because of the lockdown to check the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus - won't be cancelled, the University Grants Commission or UGC told the Supreme Court today, adding that the decision to hold the exams by September 30 was taken to "protect the academic future of students".
The UGC's remarks in an affidavit came after the top court sought its response o a batch of petitions that sought exam cancellation. A special chance will be given to the students who can not appear for the exams amid the pandemic, the top educational body told the court today.
"The decision to hold the exams was not arbitrary... it was taken after recommendations by experts. The call taken by some states for cancellation and confer the degrees will impact the standards of higher education and it is not permissible under UGC guidelines. Conducting examinations for final year students is necessary to test them on 'specialised elective courses' studied by them during the terminal year," the court was told.
The UGC is charged with coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education.
The Supreme Court will take up the matter tomorrow and take a look at a clutch of petitions, including the one filed by Mahashtra Minister Aaditya Thackeray, that urged the court to postpone or cancel the exams.
Earlier this month, the Union Home Ministry had said that the end-term exams in colleges and educational institutions can take place.
As a part of the "standard operating procedure" (SOP), the educational institutions have been advised by the UGC to hold the final-year or end-semester exams by in pen-and-paper, online mode or a "blended" mode.
The government's decision was criticized by several opposition leaders including ex-Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and Punjab had also expressed concern amid spike in coronavirus cases.
This morning, India's covid tally jumped to 15.83 lakh cases after over 52,000 fresh infections were reported in the previous 24 hours.