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Coronavirus | Bengal against Central advisory on final year varsity exams

File picture.

File picture.  

The West Bengal Higher Education Department has objected to an advisory of the Central government asking universities and other academic institutions to compulsorily conduct final year examinations by September-end, and sent a letter to the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) to “re-examine the matter in the interest of physical and mental well-being of students”.

In the letter addressed to MHRD secretary, Amit Khare, principal secretary of the West Bengal Higher Education Department Manish Jain said the State government be allowed to implement its own decision by not making the MHRD/ UGC (University Grants Commission) revised guidelines dated 6.7.2020 mandatory on the State government. In its July 6 order, the UGC said that final year exams at the university may be postponed until the end of September but must be conducted on either online or offline mode.

“Mentioning statement like final term examinations should be compulsorily conducted as per the revised guidelines of UGC, by the Ministry of HRD, [Department of Higher Education] Vide its... dated 6 th July, is only against the spirit of the federal structure enshrined in the constitution of India as “education” is placed in the concurrent list… ,” the letter, dated July 9, 2020, read.

‘State not consulted’

The communication stated that the “State was never consulted by UGC despite sending a request for consultation with respect to framing of such guidelines, vide this office DO number 08-Pr. Secy- HED/2020 dated 18 th April 2020 to the secretary UGC”.

Mr. Jain referred to the “unforeseen, uncertain and challenging situation when educational institutions are being used as quarantine centres" restrictions on rail movement and cyclone Amphan in West Bengal. He said the State government, after consultation with Vice Chancellors, had issued an advisory to give due weightage to the internal assessment in the previous semesters in order to ensure transparency.

The letter pointed out that several States had decided not to conduct terminal exams and a number of Indian Institutes of Technology had cancelled their final year exams. “The decision to conduct examinations by September 2020 will not only affect public health, but would have an economic impact on students who would be put at a disadvantage vis-a- vis students of other autonomous universities or students of other countries,” it said.

BJP sees politics

The State leadership of the BJP said the government was opposing the UGC guidelines for political reasons.

“There is still more than two months to September, how do we know what will be the situation then. Opposing a development that is scheduled in September is only for political reasons,” Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has called a virtual conference of Vice Chancellors on July 15. Mr. Dhankhar, who is the Chancellor of the State universities, said that COVID-19 had stressed the student community like never before and urged Vice chancellors to look for the resolution of the problem faced by students.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 8:19:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/west-bengal-objects-to-centres-directive-on-holding-final-year-exams-in-september/article32037210.ece

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