Maharashtra: State forms 6-member panel to explore ways to hold final year exams as mandated by UGC

Left with no choice but to hold examinations for final year students, the Maharashtra government has formed a six-member committee to explore ways to conduct the tests by noon on September 30. The committee, headed by Mumbai University Vice-Chancellor Dr Suhas Pednekar, has been asked to submit a report on Monday.

State officials and 13 VCs of non-agricultural universities held a marathon meeting on Saturday to arrive at a solution to the challenge. Sources said all of them were unanimous that the present conditions, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, were not suitable for the state’s 9 lakh final year students to visit colleges and examinations centres.

Minister of Higher & Technical Education Uday Samant, his deputy Prajakt Tanpure, and the VCs discussed at length options, including open book examination, assignment based, online and offline modes, said sources.

Samant said the panel under Dr Pednekar will find out whether and how the examinations can be held by 12 pm on September 30, as envisaged by the University Grants Commission. Based on the findings of the committee, the state government will take a final call.

As reported by the Free Press Journal, Samant and Tanpure also met former VCs and experts from the education sector to discuss how examinations can be conducted without compromising the health and safety of students. There was also unanimity that the students should be given enough time for preparations.

Samant told Free Press Journal, “There are five options under consideration. One, the traditional way wherein students will report at the examination centres and write their papers. In addition, online, offline, open book and assignment-based examinations are also being explored. The government will take final decision after receiving Dr Pednekar-led committee’s report.” He, however, reiterated that it was no longer possible to call students directly to examination centres.

The minister said that the Dr Pednekar-led committee will also make recommendations on how students with backlogs will clear their papers as well as holding exams for technical courses.

A former VC, who did not want to be identified, said the students should not be further burdened. “There was one view that holding examinations in Naxal infested Gadchiroli and tribal dominated Chandrapur districts would not be possible till September 15. We are trying to ensure that students do not have to come to the examination centres and appear for exams there.”

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