After knocking doors of the Supreme Court in order to stop University Grant Commission (UGC) on conducting final year exams, the apex court on Thursday said that it would take up hearing after two days the petitions challenging the guidelines.
The plea filed by 31 students from across India seeking the cancellation of final year university exams was listed today before a two-Judge Bench of Justices, L Nageswara Rao, and Hemant Gupta.
The students from 13 states and one union territory demanded on canceling the University final year exams to be conducted before September 30. The circular regarding the conduct of exams was published on July 6, 2020. Among the 31 petitioners, one has been tested COVID-19 positive. The petitioners thus urged that the scheduled exams across the country be canceled in the interest of justice, as the numbers of corona infected patients are on the rise.
The Joint Forum for Movement on Education (JFME) has started an online petition seeking withdrawal of UGC Guidelines and cancellation of final year exams. The petition was started on the platform ‘Change.org’ and will be submitted to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it receives 1000 digital signatures.
Citing the differential access to digital devices for online education, the petition says that the existing inequalities in education have amplified during the lockdown imposed in light of the COVID-19 crisis. At a time like this, the UGC’s revised guidelines are illogical.
“In this context, the recently released ‘UGC Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities in view of COVID-l9 Pandemic’, propose illogical and unacademic solutions for evaluating and granting degrees to students,” the petition says.
The petition says that UGC’s guidelines are supposedly premised on the idea to provide safe, fair, and equal opportunity to students while safeguarding the academic interests of students. It also supposes that online examinations are a viable alternative to regular exams. However, the petition says, both these premises are ill-founded.
UGC had asked universities on the status of the conduction of exams in their respective areas. Out of 755 universities, the UGC said that 321 were state universities, 274 private, 120 deemed, and 40 central universities. Of these, it added, a total of 566 universities had already conducted their exams or were planning to conduct them in August or September.
From these 560 universities, 194 have already conducted their exams, and 366 are planning to conduct them in August or September.