Defer Maharashtra UG medical exams, start new academic year: Minister Amit Deshmukh

The state has objected to the exams of undergraduate medical students in the state – scheduled to take place between August 3 and 29 this year – and has asked the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) to postpone them until Covid-19 situation comes under control. The decision will affect around 24,000 medical and dental students in the state.

State medical education minister Amit Deshmukh said that the exams should not be held putting at risk the lives of students. He also directed MUHS to start the academic year of the first three years.

“Covid-19 is highly infectious. Parents are very worried about students’ health. The state is ready to hold exams, but students are not ready to appear for them. We suggested [MUHS] to start the academic year for first, second and third-year medical students without conducting exams. They can be conducted whenever the situation becomes conducive,” the medical education minister said.

Deshmukh said final-year students should be allowed to commence with their internship, so that their services can be used for the ongoing health crisis, and they also will not have to lose their time. “Final-year students should be allowed to start internship even without conducting exams so that their services can be used in the battle against the pandemic and students also won’t lose their time,” he said.

The directives came at a time when the state is already having differences with the University Grants Commission (UGC) over the issue of conducting final year exams of non-professional and professional courses.

The state disaster management authority, headed by the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, in its meeting held on July 13, decided that Maharashtra is not in a position to hold final year exams, considering the high number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the state.

The July 13 decision came a week after UGC directed all universities to conduct final-year exams either in online, offline or blended modes by September end.

When asked about the UGC directives, Deshmukh said that the state is ready to conduct the entrance exams of super specialty courses for postgraduate students, scheduled on September 15, as students are on campus and do not need to travel unlike undergraduate students who are at their respective districts.

“We will also discuss the issue with the Medical Council of India (MCI) to make this possible,” the medical education minister said.

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