Home COVID 19 #StudentsSafetyFirst: UGC needs to review its decision on final year examinations.

#StudentsSafetyFirst: UGC needs to review its decision on final year examinations.

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows”. The COVID -19 has affected the education system shoddily. This leads to total closure of schools, colleges, universities, etc. across the country. The students of this generation are now labeled as pandemic students.

Now, here is a new turn the University Grant Commission (UGC), in its much-awaited guidelines, released on 6 July 2020, decided mandatory examinations for final year students. Earlier, UGC had prescribed that exams are to be conducted between July 1 to 15 and the results of the same would be released by the end of July. 

According to the Press Release of the UGC, students of the final year/terminal semester have to appear for end term examinations by the end of September 2020. The exam will be conducted in Pen and Paper mode or online mode or blended mode. They also added that the decision was taken to safeguard the principles of health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for students.

The Press Release also mentioned that if any student is unable to appear, then he/she may appear in special examinations for each paper/course later which will be conducted by the university so that students do not face any inconvenience. Students with backlogs should also be evaluated with offline/online/blended mode of examinations. 

Due to Covid-19, students lost almost 4 months of their classroom study and the revised guidelines caused fear and anxiety in the minds of students. The students are now showing their disquiet through various social media platforms.  Micro-blogging platform Twitter saw trending hashtags like #Cancel_Exam2020, #StudentsLivesMatters, #NoExamsInCovid, #SpeakUpForStudents from students and parents asking to cancel the examinations.

There are many better options accessible to swap the examination decision. Students of final years can be evaluated based on their current year internal assessment or average of their previous year semester exams etc. When other year students are being promoted through safe means then why not the final year students?

Thus, conducting final year exams seems a highly infeasible task and if conducted, would endanger the well being of students, parents, teachers, supporting staff, and other machinery involved in the process. States like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana, and Rajasthan have already canceled all higher education exams without waiting for the UGC guidelines. The most important question here is Can UGC give a guarantee that conducting exams will not affect the safety of students?

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