Saturday, 11 Jul, 7.13 pm Deccan Chronicle

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TN may not be able to hold college exams

Chennai: Tamil Nadu has informed the Centre that it may not be able to hold the final semester examination for university and college students, as mandated by the University Grants Commission (UGC) before September.

The state has urged the Union government to instruct the apex education authorities to 'endorse the decisions of the respective state governments, which would be based on the local prevailing Covid-19 conditions.'

In a letter to the Union human resources development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palanisamy asked him to direct UGC, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Council of Architecture (COA), Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE) and National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology to endorse the decisions of the States.

Though the UGC, in its guidelines issued on April 29, gave the flexibility to the Universities and Colleges for the conduct of examination without any restrictions 'on the guidelines/directions issued by the appropriate Government/Competent Authority,' its new guidelines, issued on July 6 mandated the conduct of examinations by September 2020.

'I would like to bring to your notice that the new guidelines has many constraints and difficulties which include the students reaching the Examination Centres, as many of them are residing outside the district, outside the State and some even outside the country. It is also not feasible to conduct online examinations, considering the various issues relating to digital access to the students,' the Chief Minister said.

'Moreover, most of the Government and Private Arts & Science and Engineering Colleges, Polytechnics and other institutions of higher learning (including the hostels, classrooms etc) in the State have been converted as Covid Care Centres for housing asymptomatic positive persons under quarantine and these centres may continue as Covid centres for some more time,' he added.

So, if Tamil Nadu was not able to hold the examinations by September it would jeopardise the future of final year students, particularly those recruited through campus selections and those who have applied for courses abroad.

'Many States in the country have taken a decision not to conduct the final semester examinations. In order to ensure career opportunities, future prospects and to simultaneously safeguard the principles of health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for students, the States may be given the freedom to work out its own assessment methods, without compromising on the quality and academic credibility,' Palanisamy said.

'Due to the progressive policies of the State Government, Tamil Nadu has the highest Gross Enrollment Ratio of 49% among the States, resulting in a large number of students studying in various Universities,Colleges and Polytechnics,' he added.

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