Former University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Sukhadeo Thorat has termed the statutory body's advisory on holding examinations as "unfortunate", saying it creates fresh uncertainty for states that have decided to cancel the final year exams.
In a letter to the UGC, Thorat and teachers from various varsities have requested it to reconsider the advisory and cancel exams for final semester/year to protect the interests of students.
The UGC recently mandated to hold final examinations in colleges and universities by September-end, which is opposed by states like Maharashtra.
Issuing revised exam guidelines on July 6, the UGC stated that academic credibility, career opportunities and future progress of students were linked to examinations.
"The UGC's latest advisory on examinations is unfortunate. It is taking us backwards rather than forward. It effectively extends the period for holding of exams (for final year/semester cohorts) until September, the second such postponement. And it creates fresh uncertainty for states that had already decided to cancel exams," said the letter addressed to UGC chairman Dhirendra Pal Singh.
The recommendation to cancel the exams was prompted by an unprecedented health emergency and not because of doubts
about the value of examinations, it stated.
"When faced with such an emergency, cancelling exams has two main advantages. First, it avoids the extended uncertainty created by repeated (but unavoidable) postponements. Second, it protects the integrity of the examination by refusing to abandon its two most basic features - impartiality, or equal treatment of all examinees, and close supervision to prevent cheating," it stated.
The letter said that adopting 'online' or 'mixed' modes will be "biased" because they will favour students with better access to the internet and work against students whose access is precarious.
"Using alternative methods of evaluation based on each student's own past performance (in exams conducted in normal times) offers a fair solution and brings closure, with the option of retaking the exam when normalcy is restored," it said.