Colleges uncertain over conducting odd semester exams in offline mode

Against the backdrop of the Central government and some States resorting to restrictions to tackle the third wave of COVID-19, college heads are faced within an uncertain situation, unable to figure out if the odd semester examinations will be conducted in offline mode later this month as had been announced by the State government.

The State government exercised the option of postponing the exam last November to stave off protests by a section of students demanding conduct of the odd semester in online mode. Representatives of student organisations, including Students Federation of India and All India Students Federation, with whom Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudi held discussions, had sought time to prepare for the offline exams.

While a good number of autonomous colleges affiliated to Bharathidasan University are understood to have completed the processes of examination and valuation, and are even in a state of preparedness to publish results later this month, the non-autonomous colleges find themselves pushed into a situation of uncertainty.

“Further postponement of examinations is not at all an option as it will be detrimental to the final year students. For them, the schedule of the final semester must not be affected on any account. The results for the final-year UG and PG students have to be published during June-July to enable them to pursue career options or higher studies without any hassles,” a Principal of an affiliated college said.

There is a mandatory requirement for the colleges to have 90 working days in a semester, and the institutions in Tamil Nadu have more than fulfilled the requirement for the odd semester due to postponement of the semester exams. Since the academic session for 2021-2022 as started well in time, the higher than required number of working days completed during the odd semester seems to have turned counterproductive for the even semester, a teacher said.

Parents worried

In any case, the odd semester exam will have to be conducted, be it in online or offline mode, according to professors of Bharathidasan University. According to university sources, there has been no communication so far from the Higher Education Department about the offline exams, even as parents have begun to raise safety concerns over the reported increase in surge in COVID infection of omicron variant.

Right now, the process of printing of question papers is fast apace. Since the exams for UG and PG courses have been scheduled to start on January 24, the university will be hardpressed for time in the event of being instructed by the Higher Education Department to conduct the exams in offline mode, the sources said.

Nevertheless, the gut instinct among most Principals is that the offline exam schedule will not be altered at this juncture, and they emphasise that the serious preparations for the offline exams by students will have to continue without any break.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 4:46:57 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/colleges-uncertain-over-conducting-odd-semester-exams-in-offline-mode/article38114841.ece