End-of-term exams in colleges and educational institutions -- pending since March because of the lockdown to slow the coronavirus infection -- can now be held, maintaining all safety measures, the Union Home Ministry has said. Within hours, the University Grants Commission released fresh guidelines, saying the end-of-term exams can be held in September.
The ministry wrote to the Higher Education Secretary, permitting the long pending exams as part of Unlock 2 – the second phase of lifting the restrictions. The final term examinations are to be compulsorily conducted as per the UGC Guidelines and academic calendar for the Universities and as per the Standard Operating Procedure approved by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the letter said.
Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal "Nishank" -- who asked the University Grants Commission yesterday to "revisit" the academic calendar and guidelines released in Apri -- tweeted:
The UGC has revisited its earlier guidelines related to university examinations.— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) July 6, 2020
In view of the safety, career progression and placements of the students and their larger interests, after consulting @HMOIndia and @MoHFW_INDIA, it has been decided that pic.twitter.com/evKTYPwnIa
"Evaluation of the terminal semester students which was to be done through examinations in the month of July, now their examinations will be conducted by the end of September-2020, following the guidelines laid down by @MoHFW_INDIA for #COVID--19," his second tweet read.
According to the new guidelines, the final university exams can be held online and offline. In case a student cannot appear in September, provisions will be made so she can take the exams later.
So far, several states, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Haryana cancelled all higher education exams and decided to promote students on the basis of previous performances.
Recently, the Gujarat government reversed its decision to conduct final year examinations, within hours of announcing it.
The Rajasthan government has cancelled under-graduate and post-graduate exams in all state universities.
The pandemic has caused widespread disruption in the academic schedule of schools too.
With schools shut since March, the board exams in most states were cancelled and the students were internally assessed on the basis of past performances.
Students have been demanding that the competitive entrance exams for engineering and medical studies, scheduled to be held this month, be cancelled. There has been no announcement on the matter yet.