Minister Uday Samant asks UGC to cancel Maharashtra varsity’s final year exams

After receiving several queries from parents and final year university students about being asked to appear for their exams in July 2020, the state minister for higher and technical education, Uday Samant on Tuesday announced that he has now written to the University Grants Commission (UGC) to cancel the final year exams as well.

This move comes less than ten days after Samant announced that all university students except final year students will be promoted to the next academic year whereas final year students will appear for exams in July. However, in a letter addressed to the UGC, Samant has highlighted that due to the current situation of increasing cases of Covid-19 in several cities in Maharashtra, it will be impossible for the state government to conduct examinations for lakhs of students in the near future.

“The extension of lockdown for the fourth time in the state of Maharashtra and the daily count of positive cases show the severity of Covid-19 in our state. In such a situation, we cannot put health and lives of 8-10 lakh young students at risk by conducting examinations,” said Uday Samant in a Facebook live session on Tuesday evening. He added that the state government took this decision keeping in mind the safety of students. “Cabinet minister Aditya Thackeray has also previously highlighted this issue and a member of Yuva Sena has already approached the UGC with similar concerns. We hope the UGC understands our predicament,” said Samant.

He added that the state government will wait for a couple of days to hear from the commission and meanwhile, senior ministers and education officials along with heads of state universities will also meet soon to discuss the future plan of action. “By promoting all students, we assure the UGC that promotion will be based on a viable gradation formula and by ensuring that no student is at a loss,” added Samant.

He further highlighted that while final year exams could be avoided, for the time being it will be difficult to cancel entrance exams for professional courses. “We plan to conduct the common entrance test (CET) over a period of days in July and this will be done keeping all social distancing norms in place to ensure that all 5.24 lakh registered students manage to give the exam. We will also give students the option of choosing an exam centre closer home to avoid travel,” said Samant and added that a call on this will be taken in the future in case the lockdown situation doesn’t change

He further stated that a meeting of top education officials will take place over the next two days to decide on the future course of action for the state education department.

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