The University Grants Commission (UGC) has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that its guidelines mandating final year/semester examinations are issued to protect the academic future of students across the country which will be irreparably damaged if their final year/terminal semester examinations are not held, while also keeping in mind their health and safety.
UGC has filed its reply in response to a Court’s notice on a batch of petitions seeking to quash the UGC’s guidelines mandating final year/semester examination by end of September 2020. The apex court is scheduled to hear the matter tomorrow.
It has also been stated by the UGC that all the universities/institutions across the country are obligated to conduct terminal semester/final year examinations by the end of September 2020 in accordance with its guidelines issued on July 6.
Referring to its guidelines, UGC states that as per the revised guidelines, in case a student of the terminal semester/ final year is unable to appear in the examination conducted by the University for whatsoever the reason(s) may be, he/she may be given an opportunity to appear in special examinations for such course(s)/paper(s).
UGC has also contended that the decision of Maharashtra Government to hold terminal semester/final year examinations at a later date (which may be even beyond September 2020) or to graduate such students and confer on them degrees without appearing for the final year/ terminal semester examinations is contrary to UGC’s guidelines. The same argument has been made by the UGC against the Delhi Government’s decision to cancel final year/semester examinations.
Such a decision, UGC says, will also be an encroachment on the legislative field of coordinating and determining the standards of higher education which is exclusively reserved for Parliament under Entry 66 of List I of Schedule VII of the Constitution.
UGC further states that the State Government’s decision to defer the final year/ terminal semester examinations or to graduate students without holding examinations is a matter directly affecting the standards of higher education in the country.
Recently universities were approached by the UGC to inform the status of the conduct of the examination. Out of 945 Universities (as per the list maintained by UGC till 01-06-2020) the responses were obtained from 755 Universities (120 Deemed Universities, 274 Private Universities, 40 Central Universities, and 321 State Universities). Details are as follows:
- 194 have already conducted examination (on-line/off-line);
- 366 are planning to conduct examination (on-line/off-line/blended mode) in August/September
In addition, twenty-seven Private Universities which were established from 2019-20 onwards are waiting for their first batch’s final examinations as one July 18.
UGC said out of the 755 Universities, 560 Universities have either conducted the examination or are planning to conduct. It is waiting to receive information from the remaining Universities.
On July 6, UGC had issued revised guidelines to conduct terminal semester(s)/ final year(s) examinations by the end of September in offline (pen & paper)/online/ blended (online + offline) mode. In support of its guidelines, UGC had said it was important to safeguard the principles of health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for students. At the same time, it was very crucial to ensure academic credibility, career opportunities, and future progress of students globally.
Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had also allowed the UGC to conduct the examinations.