Reacting to the issue of cancellation of exams for final years and giving aggregate marks to students of other years, Maharashta minister Aaditya Thackeray told CNN-News18 in an exclusive interview that the state government’s stand on not conducting exams is fair and just. In a rare gesture, he also expressed displeasure over the role of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
The Maharashtra Disaster relief department had recently reiterated its stand that conducting final year exams was not possible during the pandemic. Many college buildings are currently being used as quarantine centres.
“I want to ask the UGC -- we had cancelled exams when there were 600 cases in the country. Now, there are over eight lakh cases. How are you going to let a congregation of students, teachers, non-teaching staff come from wherever they are when you don't have local transport, you haven’t allowed any congregation? People are getting infected every day,” said Thackeray.
“Maharashtra's stand is just and fair. We are passing students on the basis of aggregate marks. The global standard of measuring academic excellence is past performance. You can’t judge someone on the basis of only one paper. We are doing the same thing. But if you think you have not got a fair chance, sit for the exams voluntarily whenever they happen. We can't have students come out of their homes in danger zones and write exams. That is our stand,” he said.
Thackeray asked why the Union government wanted to play with the lives of lakhs of students. “HRD minister Ramesh Pokhrial and the UGC don’t have the right picture. If they get to know, maybe they will agree,” he said.
When probed about the stand taken by Koshyari, which was in contrast to that of the state government, Thackeray expressed displeasure. The government wants aggregate marking system for the students to push them to the next class.
“All the Vice Chancellors are on one page. And that is what matters. They have worked out a formula and have given it to the ministry,” he said.
Thackeray expressed anguish at the Union government for not intervening to cancel or postpone the final year exams.
“What is a bigger problem -- a political controversy or endangering the lives of 8 lakh students? Actually, many more lakhs of students across India. If the government is okay with increasing the infection rate and mortality rate, and putting much more stress on the medical system, so be it. Let the Centre take that call. The Union government wants to endanger the lives of students, their parents, teaching staff. How are you going to conduct exams? For the professional courses too, they have to decide. For the medical exams, MCI had to decide. They are all working because the MCI hasn't budged. How are you going to make them risk their lives and give exams? On one hand, you ask people to stay indoors, on the other hand academic excellence is based on one single paper?” he asked.