The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday defended before the Supreme Court, its circular whereby all the universities across the country were asked to wrap up the final term examinations before September 30.
“All universities/institutions obligated to conduct terminal semester/ final year exam by the end of September 2020,” UGC said in its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on a batch of pleas challenging UGC’s July 6 circular and seeking cancellation of final term exams.
The UGC, in its affidavit, stuck to its circular and submitted that it has taken into account the evolving situation of COVID-19 and sufficient time has been given to conduct the exams.
“Moreover, universities have been given sufficient flexibility to conduct exam via online, offline or hybrid modes,” the affidavit said.
“In case a student is unable to appear for the exam, they would be given a chance to appear at a specially conducted exam at a later date so that the student is not put to any inconvenience or disadvantage,” it added.
It further submitted that the decision of states like Maharashtra and Delhi to either cancel exams for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students and/or to graduate them and confer degrees without appearing for final exams is plainly “contrary to the UGC guidelines”.
“Such a decision directly affects the standards of higher education in the country and will be an encroachment on the legislative field of coordinating and determining the standards of higher education reserved exclusively for the parliament under Entry 66 of List I of Schedule VII of the Constitution of India,” the affidavit submitted while urging the top court to dismiss the pleas.
It said that “final year exams are important as learning is a dynamic process where the only way to figure out what students know is by seeking evidence of their knowledge.”
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the matter on Friday.
Earlier, the top court had sought UGC’s response on the petition challenging its July 6 circular for concluding the final term examinations before September 30, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One petition filed by as many as 31 students from different universities across India, urged that the exams should be canceled and the results of such students should be calculated on the basis of their internal assessment or past performance.
Another petition on the issue, filed in the apex court by final year law student Yash Dubey, also sought cancellation of UGC-mandated final year exams. Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray has also moved the apex court on behalf of Yuva Sena, the youth wing of Shiv Sena, against the mandated final year exams in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases.
As per the UGC, universities were approached to inform the status of the conduct of examinations and responses received from 818 universities (121 deemed universities, 291 private universities, 51 central universities, and 355 state universities).
Of the 818 universities, 603 have either conducted the examination or are planning to conduct. Meanwhile, 209 others have already conducted examination (on-line/off-line), 394 are planning to conduct examination (on-line/off-line/blended mode) in August or September.