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Cancel Final Year Students Exams and GiVe General Promotion on the basis of internal assessments and earlier semester performances

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To,

Shri. Narendra Damodardas Modi Ji

Honourable Prime Minister of India

Sir, hope this letter finds you in good health. India has crossed more than 8 Lakh Covid Cases and is now the third worst affected country in the world. Since reporting the first case about 3 months back, the number of cases have only been on the rise.
On 29th April, UGC has released fresh guidelines that say Final Year Exams have to be ‘compulsorily’ conducted in the month of September. This has caused confusion, panic and immense stress amongst the Students and Education Fraternity.
The UGC’s latest advisory on examinations is unfortunate because it takes 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.
The recommendation to cancel exams was prompted by an unprecedented health emergency, not by doubts about the value of examinations.
Such an act by HRD ministry could be construed as a breach of the spirit of federalism where a state is not taken into confidence before decisions are arrived at.
We would like to raise a few concerns on behalf of the students regarding the same.

1. When exams were originally scheduled, Covid cases were far lesser and it had not reached all parts of our country. The cases have been steadily rising and we cannot be sure they would decline by September.


2. Online Infrastructure and Availability is poor in rural parts of our country, hence Online Exams cannot be an option. Offline Exams would be an invite to community transmission.


3. Lakhs of final year students have secured jobs as campus placements or enrolled in private Indian Universities or Foreign Universities. Exams in September would mean they effectively lose all these opportunities.


4. Reputed Foreign Universities and Indian Universities like IIT Mumbai, NLU have taken a decision to cancel exams even they have far lesser number of students, why insist of ‘compulsion’ of these exams?


5. Most courses follow semester pattern which means subjects change per semester. It effectively means a final year student has completed 85% - 90% of his course and even studied for the final semester. Hence an aggregate of previous examination marks is used by majority of foreign universities to evaluate students in these stressful times of Covid.

6.Throat argued that the uncertainty of Covid-19 pandemic will create the “genuine need” of repeated postponements, which can be avoided altogether by adopting alternative methods of evaluation, including past performance of students.

7.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

8. 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.

9. Given the realities facing the overwhelming majority of our students and institutions, examinations held in the “online” or “mixed” modes will be biased as they will favour students with better access to the internet and work against students whose access is precarious.

10. cancelling the exams will help in protecting their “integrity” as the online mode may not give equal opportunities to all examinees, and lack close supervision to prevent cheating.cancelling exams during a pandemic is “sensible” and “fair” because examinations must not be “devalued”.

You will kindly appreciate that the students and teaching communities are the assets of our country and the world. We must take proper care of their physical and mental well being. They should not feel upset.
For the sake of our youth, I urge the honourable Prime Minister to personally intervene and cancel final year exams of central government and state universities and save the future

Regards
All final year students and their parents

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