Tamil Nadu Government has said that the new guidelines by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, which mandated that all the educational institutions across the country shall conduct examinations by September 2020 for the final semester students, will not be feasible. The new guidelines have many constraints and difficulties which include the students reaching the examination centres, as many of them reside outside the district or state and some even outside the country.
It is also not feasible to conduct online examinations, considering the various issues relating to digital access to the students.
Tamil Nadu Government today asked the Center to give freedom to the states to work out its own assessment methods for students, without compromising on the quality and academic credibility.
In a letter to the Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Minister for Human Resource Development, Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister Edappadi said that Covid-19 pandemic is showing a surge in various parts of the country including Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu has the highest Gross Enrollment Ratio of 49 per cent among the States, resulting in a large number of students studying in various Universities, Colleges and Polytechnics. Though we had scheduled their semester examinations in April 2020, these examinations could not be conducted as scheduled because of Covid-19 pandemic.
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The UGC on April 29, 2020, had issued guidelines which provided flexibility to the universities and colleges for the conduct of exams, without any restrictions on the guidelines / directions issued by the appropriate Government / Competent Authority.
The new guidelines which were issued on July 6, 2020, mandated that all the educational institutions across the country shall conduct examinations by September 2020 for the final semester students.
Moreover, most of the government and private arts, science and engineering colleges, polytechnics and other institutions of higher learning (including the hostels, classrooms etc.,) in the state have been converted into Covid-19 Care Centres for housing asymptomatic patients under quarantine and these centres may continue as Covid-19 centres for some more time.
“Therefore, if we are not in a position to conduct examinations even after waiting till September 2020, it would jeopardise the future of the students who are in their final year / semester. Moreover, it will also unnecessarily affect the future of the students who were recruited through campus selections and the students who have applied for courses abroad, who may have to join in the month of October 2020, after the ban on international travel is lifted,” said the Chief Minister.
He added, many States in the country have taken a decision not to conduct the final semester examinations. In order to ensure career opportunities, future prospects and to simultaneously safeguard the principles of health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for students, the states may be given the freedom to work out its own assessment methods, without compromising on the quality and academic credibility.
He asked the HRD minister to direct the respective Apex authorities like University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Council of Architecture (COA), Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE) and National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology to endorse the decisions of the respective state governments, which would be based on the local prevailing Covid 19 conditions.
“This would go a long way in rendering justice and fairness to the parents and the students, during these distressful times,” said the Chief Minister.