The UGC Thursday justified in the Supreme Court it decision directing all universities and institutions to hold final year/semester examinations in September saying it was done to protect the academic future of students across the country.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) filed a 50-page affidavit on a batch of petitions, including the one filed by Shiv Sena''s youth wing ''Yuva Sena'', which have challenged its guidelines issued on July 6 for holding the exams in September amidst the persisting coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
It said that in June this year, considering the evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, it requested the expert committee to revisit the April 29 guidelines, by which it had asked the Universities and Institutions to hold final year examinations in July 2020.
“Accordingly, the expert committee (which also included vice-chancellors of technical universities and a representative of industry) did so, and submitted a report recommending that terminal semester/final year examinations should be conducted by universities/ institutions by the end of September, 2020 in offline (pen & paper)/ online/ blended (online + offline) mode,” the UGC said.
It added that this report of the expert committee was deliberated and approved by the UGC in its emergent meeting held on July 6, since the conduct of the final year/terminal examination is a time-sensitive issue.
“Consequently, the UGC immediately issued the ‘Revised Guidelines on Examination and Academic Calendar for the Universities in view of COVID-19 Pandemic’ on July 6”, it said, adding that all universities/ institutions in the country are obligated to conduct terminal semester/final year examination by the end of September, 2020.
The UGC said it has issued such guidelines to "protect the academic future of students across the country which will be irreparably damaged if their final year/terminal semester examinations are not held, while also keeping in mind their health and safety”.
Assailing the decisions of some states like Maharashtra and Delhi of cancelling the final year examinations, the commission said that such decisions directly affect the standards of higher education and will be an encroachment on the legislative field of coordinating and determining the standards of higher education that is exclusively reserved for Parliament under Schedule VII of the Constitution.