Final-Semester Examinations Can’t Be Cancelled, UGC Tells Supreme Court

New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has submitted to the Supreme Court that its July 6 guidelines, mandating universities across India to conduct their final-year examination by September end, cannot be altered.

The UGC informed the court that the expert committee, headed by Prof. RC Kuhad, had submitted a report recommending terminal semester examinations be conducted by universities/institutions by the end of September.

The UGC deliberated on the recommendations of the report and approved it in. The Ministry of Home Affairs also okayed the UGC’s decision.

In its guidelines, the UGC had added that in case some students are unable to appear in the final semester exams, they would be given a chance to write the papers during a specially-conducted exam later.

“It is submitted that the UGC has issued such guidelines to protect the academic future of students across the country which will be irreparably damaged if their final year/terminal examinations are not held, while also keeping in mind their health and safety,” said the academic regulator in its affidavit.

The 50-page affidavit said that the final year/terminal semester examinations are important because the “learning process is a dynamic interaction where the only way to figure out what students know is to seek evidence of their knowledge and to evaluate it.”

It insisted on non-interference of courts on these policy matters as the academic evaluation of terminal semester/final year students is a very important milestone in any education system. It is well-settled that courts of law do not ordinarily intervene in academic decisions and policies involving standard and quality of education, the UGC said.

It also criticised the decision of certain state governments (Maharashtra and Delhi) to cancel final year exam for UG/PG students and allow such students to graduate and confer degrees without appearing for the exams. “Such a decision directly affects the standard of higher education in the country and will be an encroachment of legislative field of coordinating and determining the standards of education that is exclusively reserved for Parliament,” said the affidavit.

The UGC urged the top court to dismiss the batch of pleas opposing July 6 guidelines. The lead petition in the matter is a plea filed by 31 students from Indian universities across the country.

Other pleas include one by Shiv Sena’s youth wing Yuva Sena, headed by Maharashtra minister Aditya Thackeray.

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