The Maharashtra government is caught in a cleft stick, thanks to the contradictions inherent in Centre’s notification on Unlock 4, which clearly says that schools and colleges will remain shut till September 30, even as the UGC is insisting that final-year exams be conducted by September 30. Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant tweeted on Sunday: The Centre, in its notification says schools and colleges are to remain closed till September 30 due to lockdown. The UGC (on the other hand) wants states to conduct final-year exams by September 30. What should the state government and the students do now? If schools and colleges are closed, how can exams be held?’’
The poser came even as the Maharashtra government awaits the report of a six-member committee on feasibility of conducting final-year exams by September 30.A part of the problem is that of the 4,500 colleges and 3,500 examination centres in Maharashtra, a large number are currently serving as quarantine facilities and the education department has cited physical and logistical issues in making them available for examinations. Perforce, the government is exploring online, offline, open-book and assignment-based examination options, so that students do not have to come to these centres.
Samant referred to the interview of UGC Secretary Rajanish on Rajya Sabha TV, wherein he had said that examination papers will be dispatched to the students’ homes and they could write it there. "The Maharashtra Government had suggested that in the present Covid-19 crisis, students would be given average marks, based on their past examination results. On Saturday, at the meeting with the Vice chancellors of 13 non-agricultural universities, there was a unanimous view that physical examinations would not be possible, keeping in mind the safety and security of students. Therefore, a six-member committee met today (on Sunday) and discussed the matter. It will submit its report on Monday and based on its recommendations, the state government will take a call,’’ Samant noted.
He also said, if any university in the state wants to hold physical examinations then it would have to seek the opinion of the district disaster management authority and only after its consent, could it go ahead. He reiterated that there should be clarity from the UGC, especially after the Centre’s Unlock 4 notification, which has categorically said that schools and colleges would remain shut till September 30.