Final year exam: Punjab CM asks PM Modi to cancel examination due to COVID-19

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah to cancel the final year exam of colleges and universities in the light of coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 situation in the state is not conducive to conduct the examinations,” Singh added today.

“Punjab chief minister will write to PM Modi & Union home minister Amit Shah seeking cancellation of Final year exam in universities & colleges in the interest and safety of the students,” Punjab chief minister office said today.

The Union home ministry on July 6 allowed the colleges and universities to conduct the end-of-term examinations as they are compulsory according to the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines. Later, the union ministry of human resource and development made it clear. The exams are going to happen at the end of September.

The end-of-term semesters were postponed in the light of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. “The terminal semester will be conducted by the universities by the end of September 2020 in offline (pen and paper) or online or blended (online + offline) mode,” the UGC stated.

What I the request?

“Punjab chief minister said he will seek revocation of the July 6 MHA orders on compulsory conduct of final terms exams in the universities/colleges by September, and withdrawal of the UGC guidelines accordingly,” Punjab chief minister’s office said.

The final year examinations were postponed due to coronavirus pandemic in the country. “Conducting final year examination of graduation or post-graduation is very important while the safety and security of students is our prime concern,” UGC secretary professor Rajnish Jain said.

Earlier, the Punjab government had decided to cancel all the final year examinations to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Maharashtra government also announced to not conduct final year or semester exams of professional and non-professional courses in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

Similarly, on this note  Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah is requested for the same. The cancellation of Final year exam in universities has become a national issue. A tweet sent from the CM’s official handle on Twitter says that ‘COVID situation is non-conducive to conduct of examinations’.

Punjab Chief Minister, in a tweet sent from his personal account, says, “In view of the prevailing #Covid19 situation, have decided to write to PM @NarendraModi Ji to request him to review UGC’s decision on holding mandatory examinations for exit clauses. We cannot risk the health of our students and, therefore, a pragmatic approach must be adopted.”

Final year students are in a great dilemma. With already the pandemic giving a lot of mental pressure. The repeated changing of dates is causing a lot of trouble. The students have taken over the issue on various social media platforms and urging the authorities to postpone the exams.

What is Punjab’s Tale?

With students in the government university claim to have no resources to access the online exams. The situation becomes worse for many. The exams have more or less turned up like a joke. This is the reason CM of Punjab too came up to request PM to deal with the issue. This makes both parents and children worry.

It is a matter of crises that we live in such a country where people do not have adequate resources to give online exams. Education Ministry had asked UGC to review its guidelines on conducting final year university exams. On Monday, the Education Ministry also announced the decision. He explained that final year exams have to be concluded by September-end.

UGC also made provisions for students who will not be able to appear for the exams in September. Universities have been asked to hold a special exam for all such students who are unable to sit for the exams on schedule.

The University Grants Commission cited examples of top-ranking institutes from around the world, The Princeton, MIT, University of Cambridge, Imperial College of London, University of Toronto and McMaster, University of Heidelberg and University of Hong Kong that have resorted to the online technology-based mode of examinations.

The uneven distribution of resources in India makes it impossible to conduct smooth online exams. We lack a great technological setup compared to the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, UGC’s decision to go ahead with the university exams has received criticism from many quarters.

Maharashtra Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant said that the revised UGC guidelines on the exam and academic calendar should be “advisory” not “mandatory”.

Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat, former UGC Chairman, said that the decision was ‘unfortunate’. it has caused ‘fresh uncertainty’ among the students by extending the deadline to conduct exams until September.

What About Other States?

The students are put on hold with their future. They are also the ones suffering the most because of the pandemic. With UGC reluctant to cancel the exams for students. Things are a bit confusing to comment on right now. We hope the best for the children. Although cancelling of exams can’t happen.

Meanwhile, the Odisha government had cancelled all pending exams of UG and PG final semester/year in view of the Covid-19 situation. The exams stand cancelled for all courses except the Professional courses.

West Bengal Higher Education Department has also objected to the advisory of the central government. West Bengal Principal Secretary Manish Jain too wrote a letter to HRD Ministry and asked to re-examine the matter in the interest of the physical and mental well-being of students amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.

On the other hand first and the second year students can relax. Marking for them currently is on the basis of the previous record. The second criteria of awarding marks are the internal assessments. The government should take strict responsibility as it involves the future of children.

Let us wait for more updates on the issue. We promise to keep you informed. Stay Tuned!

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