India is 3rd worst COVID-19 affected country but UGC decided to take the final exams by the end of September can prove to be fatal for entire India as many students have returned to their home states. Maintaining social distancing during such times can be difficult. The current UGC guidelines are not in the best interests of students. Delaying exams without clarity is detrimental to the students. We need to discuss productive solutions so that students’ health and careers are both secured.
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The students launched multiple petitions online and took to Twitter to raise their objection using hashtag “Student lives matter”.
“We, final year students are not testing kits for the government. We are not in fear of exams about exams rather there is a fear of community spreading. You can maintain social distancing in the exam centre but what about hostels where we have common washrooms, common mess,” an online petition signed by over 46,000 students said.
Another petition launched on change.org and signed by over 75,000 students said, “Due to this COVID-19 pandemic We all are facing many problems and issues in our day-to-day life, we appreciate the rules and regulations of the Indian government in this situation. But there are too many things to be noticed from the student’s side. Can the government not prioritize lives over exams in a pandemic.”
It is really painful to see MHA-MHRD-UGC-DU not caring for students’ welfare,” tweeted Mithuraaj Dhusiya, a teacher at Delhi University’s Hansraj College.
Another Twitter user said, “Why guidelines on conducting exams are changed frequently? It’s difficult for students to appear in exams due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Why students can’t be promoted and assessed on the basis of previous year results?”
Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Monday said that it is important to safeguard health and safety of students but also equally important to ensure academic credibility and career opportunities.
Final year exams in universities will have to be conducted by September-end this year, the HRD Ministry announced on Monday, deferring the schedule from July in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases.
However, students unable to appear in final year exams in September will get another chance and universities will conduct special exams “as and when feasible”, according to revised guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The decision by the HRD Ministry came following a nod from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to conduct the exams as per the standard operating procedure (SOP) approved by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16 when the central government announced a nationwide classroom shutdown as one of the measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
A nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24, which came into effect the next day.
While the government has eased several restrictions, schools and colleges continue to remain closed.