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A majority of first year (FY), second year (SY) and third year (TY) exams of medical and dental programmes have been deferred, the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Nashik, announced on Wednesday.

The MUHS, which governs all medical and dental colleges of Maharashtra, said these exams have been deferred until further orders; the revised dates will be intimated later.

The medical and dental exams in Maharashtra were scheduled to begin from August 3. But on July 21 and 22, the MUHS released a notification stating, "The FY, SY, TY and diploma exams have been deferred until further orders with reference to the decision and directives of the Central Council of Indian Medicine, Maharashtra State Council for Occupational and Physiotherapy, Indian Nursing Council, Dental Council of India and university authorities."

Further, MUHS stated, "The next academic term of students appearing for these summer 2020 examinations (apart from final year students) will start from August 1, 2020, by offline/online mode depending on the situation and as per directives of state and local administration. Students attending the next academic classes shall have to pass the deferred summer 2020 exams as and when conducted. The revised dates of exams will be intimated later."Authorities of medical and dental colleges say all students will be admitted to the next academic year based on provisional promotions, irrespective of their performance.

Dr Freny Karjodkar, Dean in-charge of Nair Hospital Dental College, Mumbai Central, said, "All students will be given provisional promotions so that they do not miss out on academic learning. These students will have to appear for the deferred exams whenever the situation is feasible. As of now, we have not received any guidelines on how to grade students, whether based on average marks of previous years or other marking module, so we will promote all students.

"The decision has come as a big relief to over 2.80 lakh medical and dental students apart from around 70,000 final year students.Prakriti Mistry, a final year MBBS student, said, "If the government can cancel FY, SY and TY exams, they should cancel final year exams, too. We have been serving on the frontline and helping COVID-19 patients. We should not be forced to appear for exams."Tushar Jagtap, a BDS student, said, "We have been fighting relentlessly to get the final year exams cancelled because the COVID-19 situation poses several risks, but the government seems to be deaf to our pleas."

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