Citing Covid situation, Punjab CM writes to PM urging review of UGC guidelines on exams
Seeks permission to allow state to stick to its July 3 decision on exam cancellation
Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has written to the Prime Minister seeking permission to let the State Government adhere to its July 3 decision on cancellation of university/college examinations in view of the exponentially rising Covid cases.
In his letter, the Chief Minister has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to advise the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MoHRD) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) to reconsider its decision on mandatory conduct of final term exams by September. “UGC may be asked to reiterate its earlier issued guidelines of 29th April 2020, wherein it had been clearly mentioned that the guidelines were advisory in nature and each State/University would chart out its own plan of action taking into consideration the issues pertaining to Covid-19 pandemic,” he urged the Prime Minister.
The Chief Minister noted that the state government, after due deliberation and taking into account the Covid19 situation and attendant issues of safety of students and staff, had on 3rd July 2020 decided to cancel all pending UG and PG final term examinations and to promote students on the basis of performance in previous years/semesters.
“In addition, we have also allowed conduct of examinations for the purpose of improvement of grades for interested students, once the situation becomes conducive,” Captain Amarinder pointed out, stressing that “This would ensure academic credibility, career opportunities, future prospects and fair and equal opportunity for students in both urban and rural areas.”
The State Higher Education Minister has already written to the Union HRD Minister on 10th July 2020 in this regard, the Chief Minister, who had earlier said he will approach the Prime Minister on this issue, pointed out in the letter.
Captain Amarinder further noted that the “battle against Covid-19 has entered a significant phase with number of cases increasing exponentially and various studies pointing to peaking of cases over the next few months.”
“In view of this rising trend of cases, I am not sure whether the situation will be conducive for conducting offline physical examinations by September,” he said, adding that conducting physical examination will also involve huge logistical and operational challenges, especially in view of large number of college/ university buildings & hostels having been taken over by the District Administration for Covid-19 management purposes.
On the other hand, stressed the Chief Minister, “conducting online examination for such large number of students, majority of whom reside in rural areas without assured access to Computers/Laptops and Internet, is also not possible in the State.”
It may be recalled that soon after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) orders and the pursuant guidelines of the UGC, issued on July 7, the Chief Minister had made it clear that he does not consider the situation to be conducive for holding exams in the state in the light of the Covid situation.