Final-year practicals, viva to be via Skype, other meeting apps or phones, proposes exam committee

Universities should provide provisional certificates of students' performance in semester exams conducted so far, thereby helping students secure admissions to foreign universities, Maharashtra Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant announced on Friday. For final-year students, practical exams and viva will be conducted through Skype or other meeting apps or by telephone, as proposed by the ten-member exam committee of vice chancellors (VCs) of 13 state universities
Samant said, "Some students have said that foreign universities are accepting admissions based on provisional certificates of past semester exams, with that for the last semester exam to be provided later. Universities should provide these students with provisional certificates of semester exams conducted till now."

Meanwhile, the exam committee of VCs has submitted its proposal, with 11 requests and directions to universities. Samant said, "Major directions include: Universities should conduct practical and viva exams through Skype, meeting apps or via telephone; universities should start practical exams by September 15 and if not, then they should complete practical exams by September 30 at the latest. The entire exam process, with result declaration should be completed by October 31."

The committee has proposed various exam modes, such as blended online and pen and paper, multiple choice questions, optical mark recognition (OMR), open book or assignment-based exams from home. Samant said, "This proposal should be discussed by the academic councils and boards of examination of the respective universities at the earliest. Afterwards, all universities should submit a final decision on the mode of exams and the exam schedule to the state by 12pm on September 7." This will then be discussed with the Chief Minister and the state disaster management authorities.

Universities should select the exam mode from the options proposed by the committee and work out exam schedules after analysing their respective onground situations, Samant stated. "Universities should make necessary arrangements for those who cannot appear for final exams due to any reason and also for those with special needs. We will not advise further on the decision taken by respective universities, as they know the ground situation better," Samant said.

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