University examination guidelines that score low-THE HINDU-18-07-2020
*The University Grants Commission’s guidelines of July 6, 2020 on conducting final-year examinations for university students have created a storm.
* Uttar Pradesh has announced that its universities will hold examinations. Delhi University students have termed the decision arbitrary and discriminatory, and have challenged it in the Delhi High Court.
* In the latest UGC communication, 182 universities have already conducted the examinations and 234 are planning to hold them in August and September.
*Most examinations in India merely test an ability to recall facts or information rather than an understanding of those facts or an ability to use them in practical situations.
*Teachers too are not trained in setting good papers particularly for online open-book examinations. Certification through examination is important but cannot and should not be the sole goal of education.
*Hundreds of our students every year take unfortunate steps because of examination stress.
*A one size fits all cannot apply to our universities as we have all kinds of universities, Today, the higher education sector is overregulated and underfunded.
*The present government at the Centre wants to replace the UGC with a higher education commission.
*The first set of guidelines regarding examinations and academic calendar was issued by the UGC on April 29 and was demonstrative of UGC Chairman Prof.
*These guidelines gave much flexibility to universities and were welcomed. However, this scheme was not extended to final-year students.
*Before the new UGC guidelines were released, Rajasthan, Haryana and Maharashtra had already cancelled examinations for final-year students.
*The decision has been justified by reference to other universities across the world, the systems that these universities are following are largely accommodative of students’ concerns.
*In fact in foreign universities, each teacher has the freedom to devise his own evaluation mechanism.
The shadow of the virus:
*If the virus continues to spread, no university administration will be in a position to announce examinations, and students will continue to be in a limbo about their future.
*These help students who are graduating confirm their admissions in institutes of higher education or report at their places of employment by furnishing proof of them having completed the course.
*The current system does not provide for any such possibility. Although universities which are smaller in size of student intake have started online classes, big traditional universities and the colleges affiliated thereto already lack the assurance of starting of the next academic year.
More discrimination possible:
*In case the infection does not subside , it would mean that the UGC either extends the deadline further or universities are forced to conduct online exams.
* In any case, the period of four to six months would have impacted students differently. The whole purpose of university acting as an equaliser will be lost.
*Students from a humble background, from remote areas and those with doctors/health workers as parents or are coronavirus positive in families would be at a disadvantage.