UGC should revisit exam guidelines: HRD Minister ‘Nishank’

New Delhi: Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on June 24 asked the University Grants Commission, or UGC, to “revisit” its guidelines on university semester exams and academic calendar, released in April.

The minister has said that the “foundation for revisited guidelines” should be the health and safety of students and teachers. The revised academic calendar published previously came with suggestions to continue the teaching-learning process during the COVID-19 lockdown, a suggested schedule for semester examinations, and admissions.

“I have advised the UGC to revisit the guidelines issued earlier for intermediate and Terminal Semester examinations and academic calendar. The foundation for revisited guidelines shall be health and safety students, teachers, and staff,” Mr. Pokhriyal said on social media.

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Since the April guidelines, several states, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Haryana, have cancelled all higher education exams.

The minister’s announcement came amidst speculations about the final-semester exams, as several reports suggest that the UGC may suggest scrapping final-semester exams, considering the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country. An official confirmation on the decision, however, is awaited.

The original UGC guidelines on semester exams and academic calendar had suggested replacing intermediate semester exams with other forms of assessments.

Students have been on protest demanding the cancellation of board, university, and entrance exams, including the NEET 2020 for medicine and JEE Main 2020 for engineering. The Central Board of Secondary Education, or CBSE, is likely to take a decision on conduct of board exams very soon.