Analysis of the Decision of UGC for Holding Final Exams in September – Is it Good or Bad for the Students
UGC Guidelines: On 6 July 2020, UGC released new guidelines on the most awaited matter about Final year/terminal semester examinations. HRD Minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank posted on his twitter about the final decision that UGC made regarding making the examination compulsory for final year students.
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 either online mode or blended (online + offline) or offline mode only. They also added that the decision was taken to safeguard the principles of health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for students.
The UGC has revisited its earlier guidelines related to university examinations.
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
— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) July 6, 2020
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.
What are the reactions to this decision country-wide?
Due to Covid-19, there have been many challenges besides fighting with the pandemic. University and college students have been wanting to cancel the final year-end term examinations due to the increasing danger of the pandemic – Covid-19.
The provisional guidelines issued by the UGC earlier on the same matter was supported among India about term-end examinations being canceled. But now with these new guidelines, students have been taking this matter on social media platforms. Many of them are opposing this decision through platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Hashtags like StudentsLivesMatters are trending tags because of the same and students want their end term examinations to be evaluated in the same way intermediate semester students are going to be evaluated. The All India Students Association (AISA), National Students Union of India (NSUI) and Students Federation of India (SFI) are criticizing the UGC’s decision so far.
What does it mean for the final year students?
Many problems come along with this decision, they are as follows:
- Safety of the students: With this decision, if most of the universities decide to examine in offline or blended mode, It will risk the health of the students due to a high rise in cases of Covid-19. And with the latest WHO information, this virus is now airborne, it raises the risk factor.
- Employment problems for final year students: When most of the students get ready to do a job after finishing the end term exams, this decision has created problems for those students who have already joined their jobs or are going to join shortly.
- The problem for foreign study seekers: Students who want to go abroad to study after completing their graduation/post-graduation are stuck in the middle because of this decision. When many of them are accepted by university/college abroad, they either have to cancel their admission or postpone their admission to next year.
- The risk for the whole family: Conducting exams at this point where India stands at the third position in Covid-19 cases jeopardies the health of the whole family along with the student.
- Other States Students: Those students who live in other states have to travel back to the city where they study. This means they have to be in quarantine for 14 days. If any of them develops the symptoms of the current pandemic, they have to deal with the disease and the exams at the same time.
- Mental-Health problems: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there is a rise in deterioration in mental health like stress, depression, or anxiety. This decision might lead to more students facing mental health issues. This is a serious matter and needs to be looked at by the UGC and HRD Ministry.
- Online mode: Not all the students have access to fast speed internet right now or many of them cannot afford an internet connection. This will create a hindrance for such students if their college or university decides to conduct exams through online mode.
Our final analysis of this decision
When the UGC provisionally decided that final year students might also be evaluated based on previous semester results and internal based examination along with intermediate semester students, it created a feeling of relief among the terminal semester students in the country.
These updated guidelines created an adverse reaction and students who are raising their voices on the internet, They need to be heard by the respective decision making bodies.
The University Grant Commission and HRD Ministry of India must analyze all the negative points and make a decision that is beneficial for both the students and the university. We do not want the students to fight both with the pandemic and this end-term examination decision at the same time.