Guwahati: In an attempt to withdraw UGC guidelines and cancellation of final year exams, the Joint Forum for Movement on Education (JFME) has started an online petition.
This petition which was started on ‘Change.org’ platform will then be submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it gathers 1,000 digital signatures. Stating that there is a difference in access to digital devices for online examinations, the petitions added that these existing differences in education have further amped up during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Hence, during times as such UGC’s revised guidelines are nothing but illogical.
The petition says, “In this context, the recently released ‘UGC Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities in view of COVID-l9 Pandemic’ propose illogical and unacademic solutions for evaluating and granting degrees to students.”
The petition also added that in addition to the difficulties which arose due to the COVID-19 lockdown, various parts of the country are battered with the recent floods and hence are prone to electricity problems. Hence, there are too many difficulties to conduct a fair online exam.
According to the petition, the UGC guidelines acknowledged concerns expressed by different state governments and universities. However, the one-size-fits-all approach is unable to work due to the diversity in circumstances in these universities. This includes socioeconomic status, geographical locations, the mediums of instruction and education, their disciplinary mix, the relative importance of post-graduate and undergraduate courses, etc.
Additionally, the UGC guidelines also ignore the fact that education is in the concurrent list and so the state governments ought to have a say in this matter. The petition also stated that online or blended mode of examinations can never match up the standards of regular exams in terms of ensuring credibility, the integrity of the process, and fairness. Moreover, these online examinations are also discriminatory. As in the case of students without notes, books, stable internet connection, online resources. It is also discriminatory to students from an underprivileged background and differently-abled students.
“Other forms of credible and meaningful assessment like internal / continuous assessment and / or average scores of past semesters would meet the criteria of fairness and integrity better,” added the petition. It also stated that the examination cannot monitor the usage of unfair means. This will, in turn, penalize those who are honest and promote malpractice.
Additionally, UGC already issued guidelines to conduct for intermediate students on the basis of internal assessment of current semesters and average of past semesters. Hence, there is no reason to believe that such an alternative cannot be adopted for the final semester.
This forum hence seeks the intervention of the Prime Minister for the withdrawal of the UGC guidelines and the immediate cancellation of the mandatory requirement of examinations for final year students.