The Maharashtra government, which is a respondent in the petition filed by Yuva Sena challenging the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) revised guidelines on conducting final year examinations up to September end, will soon be submitting the decisions taken by the Disaster Management Committee (DMC) to the Supreme Court. It is expected to file an affidavit by August 7 as directed by the apex court.
DMC, chaired by the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, had decided at its first meeting held on June 18 to cancel final year examinations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Thereafter, the government issued a notification in which students from non-professional courses were given an option to pass on aggregate marks or appear for examinations whenever possible. Students, however, had to give in writing to their respective university that they were ready to get the degree certificate without appearing for the final year examination.
Subsequently, DMC, at its meeting held on July 13, reiterated its earlier decision not to hold these exams because of the present coronavirus pandemic in Maharashtra. The state government conveyed the DMC’s decision to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and UGC that it will not be possible to hold examinations in September as per UGC’s revised guidelines. The government has reiterated that it was firm in its decision against conducting final year examinations, which would endanger the lives of students.
Department of Higher and Technical Education officer told the Free Press Journal, “As per the apex court’s directive, the government will submit the DMC’s decisions on the cancellation of final year examinations by September.’’
Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant has clarified that the state government was not averse to hold these examinations. However, now, as it cannot endanger the lives of more than 9 lakh students, who will be awarded degree certificates based on the evaluation of their performances of the previous semesters and internal assessment. The vice chancellors of 13 universities have also suggested that ATKT examinations cannot be held during the pandemic and such students must be cleared.
"Universities have been directed to issue graduation certificates to students who don't wish to appear for the examinations. Those who wish to appear for it must give us their request in writing," he had told Free Press Journal in a recent interview.
Samant said about 10 states with a population of about 40 crore have decided not to conduct final year examinations. He asked whether the UGC, which has issued revised guidelines, will take responsibility for the health of students. He had stated that it would not be possible for the government to put in place the necessary machinery as most of the colleges and institutions are occupied for quarantine purposes.
Yuva Sena chief and Maharashtra Minister of Tourism Aaditya Thackeray had recently termed the UGC and Ministry of Human Resources' decision ‘absolutely absurd and probably from an alternate universe.’ Aaditya had urged UGC to not make this a silly issue of ego and realise that the lives of students, teachers and non-teaching staff are at stake.