Maharashtra Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant, on Sunday, targeted the University Grants Commission (UGC) over its revised guidelines on conducting final year examinations in September. He questioned whether UGC still wanted examinations to be held when COVID-19 had entered ‘safe spaces’ like Raj Bavan and also infected veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan.
Samant in his tweet said, "Corona in Raj Bhavan.. Corona to Amitabhji.. Corona was able to reach such a safe place .. Will HRD and UGC agree now that conducting examinations is playing with the lives of students .. Will Bhushan Patwardhan side with Maharashtra now?'' Already the state government has cancelled the final year examination, citing the present COVID-19 pandemic. It has given an option for students to appear for them whenever they are held.
Samant's move is crucial, as last week he had sent a letter to Union Minister of Human Resource Development Dr Ramesh Phokhriyal, urging him to issue uniform guidelines about awarding degrees to final year students based on an appropriate formula. This is necessary as students are the pivotal soul of the entire educational ecosystem.
Samant had said that Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Puducherry also decided not to conduct terminal examinations. He pointed out that there have been incidences in other states and countries, wherein exams were conducted and a large number of students were infected by the virus. ''Hence, I had earlier pleaded with UGC to cancel final year examinations in a letter dated May 17,2020 citing the pandemic,'' he noted.
Further, the minister said UGC's revised guidelines issued on July 6 were not mandatory but mere advisory like the earlier guidelines.