West Bengal Minister of Education Partha Chatterjee on Thursday, i.e. September 10, 2020 said that the State had written to the University Grants Commission ( UGC) to share its plans for the final semester of the university in October.
The Minister also stated that he expects a favourable response from the statutory organisation.
Mr Chatterjee said that the TMC dispensation is confident that the University Grants Commission will agree with the government's suggestions for holding the exams.
"The final semester examinations will be carried out in accordance with the orders of the Supreme Court. The Court has allowed the States to hold the examinations on the date they deem appropriate, after consulting the UGC," said the Minister.
It is up to the universities to decide on the procedures for holding the exams, he added. Several state institutions, such as the University of Calcutta and the University of North Bengal, have already shared their action plan for conducting the examinations, while the University of Jadavpur has indicated that it will begin preparations after the UGC responds to the state proposal.
In a recent order, the Supreme Court allowed UGC to ask universities to hold final semester examinations by September 30, 2020. It stated, however, that the States and the Union Territories could approach the Commission for an extension of the time limit.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has adversely affected the education sector in the country. With closed academic institutions, discontinued classroom lectures and delayed exams, millions of students were forced to study from home in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.
UGC Gives Green Signal for Conducting Exams
University Grants Commission on Thursday agreed with the State Higher Education Department's proposal to hold final year undergraduate and postgraduate exams between October 01- 18, 2020, the Department official said.
On August 31, 2020 Minister of Education, Partha Chatterjee, announced that state-aided universities would have to carry out the final semester exams between October 01 – 18, 2020.
Universities, however, did not announce the examination schedule, as the UGC still had to approve the dates, as mandated by the Supreme Court in its August 28, 2020 decision.
If, in the exercise of the jurisdiction of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, any State or Union territory decides that it is not possible to hold the examinations by 30 September in accordance with the advice of the UGC on July 06, 2020, it may request an extension from the UGC, said the apex court.
Manish Jain, Senior Secretary of the Higher Education Department, requested permission from the UGC in a letter to its President on September 02, 2020.
The UGC gave its permission on Thursday, and the university was advised to announce the schedule of the exams as soon as possible, the department official said.
Universities have to Conduct Exams in Given Time Span
Jadavpur University will hold the final semester of the Arts and Science Exams from October 1 to 10, 2020, said University Vice-Chancellor Pradip Ghosh on Thursday afternoon. "A notification with a detailed schedule will be issued shortly."
Earlier this week, the university had finalised the procedures for holding the exams, and students began filling out the forms. However, the schedule had not been announced.
Soma Bandyopadhyay, Vice-Chancellor of the West Bengal University of Teachers' Training, said that the B.Ed and Med final semester exams would be held between October 1 – 9, 2020.
North Bengal University will hold the final semester exams from October 1 to 8, 2020 Vice-Chancellor Subiresh Bhattacharya said.
Calcutta University will hold the final semester examinations between October 1 – 18, 2020 an official said.
Questions papers to be Sent on Whatsapp, No Offline Exam to Take Place
All universities feel that students should not have to take the campus exams in the middle of the pandemic. Questions will be sent by e-mail or by WhatsApp.
Jadavpur University has announced that it will provide students with smartphones and high-speed data packs so that everyone can take the exams.
Calcutta University plans to upload final-year and final-semester undergraduate question papers to its website.
Candidates can take the exams at their homes and send the answers back to them or send them to WhatsApp within 24 hours.
Among the state universities, six, including the JU, published the results in July, 2020 following the June 27, 2020 Directive of the State Higher Education Department, which recommended that graduate students be assessed on the basis of their performance in previous semesters and internal assessments.