Guwahati Student Leaders on Need for Cancellation of Final Exams | Guwahati News

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Guwahati Student Leaders on Need for Cancellation of Final Exams

Rifa Deka | August 03, 2020 13:40 hrs

The Supreme Court of India heard a plea by Yuva Sena and other student bodies against the University Grants Commission's (UGC) decision on final year university examination amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.  

The final verdict is likely to be out on August 10, as thousands of university students look up to what could be a ‘landmark’ judgment.

On July 7, UGC had said that the end-term examination for all final-year students would have to be mandatorily held by the end of September 2020 in offline (pen & paper), online or blended mode.

Under a new UGC directive, in case a student is not able to appear for examinations, he/she would be given an opportunity to appear for a special examination by the institution at a later date.

UGC had earlier warned states of action against them and that not accepting its decision would put the future of students at risk. 

The body had also stated that 454 of 640 universities have agreed on conducting exams or have already held them, while 177 have said that they are yet to make a decision.

The petitioners like Yuva Sena want the UGC to allow individual state governments to pass the final year students based on the candidate’s past performance and not insist on mandatorily holding examinations amidst the health crisis.

There is also a justification given by petitioners that when board examinations and first-year/second-year university examinations could be cancelled, then why not that for the final year students.

Students from Assam, however, raise other issues, in addition to the pandemic, unlike other states of the country; students of Assam have the annual devastating floods to worry about, which aggravate the problem further. 

Student leaders speak

Student leaders from institutions across Guwahati city spoke with G Plus and expressed their views on the situation.

“At a time when people are finding it difficult to get 2 meals a day, how can one expect them to afford mobile internet packs? To what extent has the syllabus been completed online and how much is left, has UGC taken these into account in consultation with students is a question we must ask,” said Bagmita Borthakur, Ex-Debate Secretary Handique Girls College Student Union.

“Situation in Assam is bad. UGC officials cannot sit in air-conditioned rooms and make decisions for students in Assam. There is not a single student representative in UGC's committee. Without students they have formed a committee,” said Moon Talukdar, General Secretary of Post Graduate Students Union – Gauhati University.

“We have faith in the judiciary and have submitted a memorandum with the Chief Justice of Assam. We are not against exams, we just want them to be conducted once the situation gets better,” added Moon.

Another student activist from Guwahati, currently a student of Delhi University and National Students' Union of India (NSUI) Delhi Secretary, Arpita Dutta said, “The situation in Assam is worse because of floods. Students have not been able to take online classes because they come from remote areas and villages.”

“Now, to expect them to sit for online exams is problematic. It is upon the Supreme Court of India to right whatever UGC has done wrong. I hope that the Supreme Court decided to protect the student community that the government and UGC are right now risking,” she added. 

Outcome of hearing on 31st July

The Final Year University Exams have not been cancelled yet, as the Supreme Court of India adjourned the hearing awaited by students across the country, on University Grants Commission or UGC’s decision to conduct final year university exams.

The hearing has been pushed to August 10 and the apex court will not pass any interim order on the matter. In the second hearing, the Supreme Court of India asked individuals to submit affidavits by August 7 and rejoinders by August 8.

The Supreme Court, however, did take notice of the fact that fresh guidelines, issued on July 6 by UGC did not take into account guidelines issued by MHA as those guidelines were issued much later on July 20.

On cancellation of exams in Maharashtra, the State Disaster Management Committee of Maharashtra has also been given time and asked to file a reply.

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