UGC Guidelines: In SOP to universities, push for online exams

UGC Guidelines: In SOP to universities, push for online exams
(source: Shutterstock) Abhay Anand | Jul 8, 2020 - 6:21 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The HRD Ministry, through the higher education regulator, University Grants Commision, or UGC, has pushed for use of technology to conduct exams remotely.

On Wednesday, two days after the UGC issued revised guidelines on exams and asked universities to hold final-year or semester-end exams by September, the body issued a "standard operating procedure" or "SOP" for conducting these exams.

The Ministry of HRD (Human Resource Development) has also asked universities to address student concerns related to the academic calendar, admissions, opening of institutions as well as uncertainty regarding modes of teaching-learning, completion of courses, examinations, evaluation, declaration of result.

Students across the country have been raising their concerns related to examination and the new academic cycle due to increasing cases of COVID-19 pandemic.

Delhi University has been facing severe criticism over its flip-flops related to open book examination. There have also been problems in university holding mock test last week.

As per the instructions issued by the ministry, universities have to advise downloading of 'Aarogya Setu' App by staff and students, make adequate arrangements of thermal scanners, sanitizers, face-masks.

Push for online exams

The University Grants Commission has written to all universities to comply with the guidelines of the government while conducting examinations.

The HRD Ministry has cited the example of leading foreign universities holding final year examinations remotely has asked Indian institutions to take a cue from “Princeton and MIT (USA); the University of Cambridge, Imperial College of London (UK)." [They] have resorted to the online technology-based mode of examinations. Alternative form of assessment like Open Book, Term Paper, Continuous Assessment, Presentations, Assignments, time-limited exams have been preferred as a substitute for the exam in select countries of Asia and Europe,” reads the ministry letter.

The Centre has asked states to ensure students do not face problem in reaching their university. As per the instruction, in case there is a restriction on movements in certain areas, admit card or identity cards should be treated as a pass for the movement. It says: “State governments should issue instructions to all local authorities to issue movement passes to invigilators and all personnel engaged in the conduct of the examination.”

Issuing guidelines for examination centre, UGC has instructed universities that entire examination centre floors and walls, doors, gates, should be sprayed with disinfectant. Exam functionaries and staff to use fresh mask and gloves. It has also asked universities to make arrangement for sanitizer bottles at the entry gate, examination rooms and staff rooms.

"Thermal gun temperature check must be done at the staff entrance point if any examination functionary fails to meet the self-declaration criteria, or thermal gun check, he/she will be asked to leave the examination centre immediately," the instruction reads.

It has also asked universities to keep every alternate seat empty while suggesting the seating plan for the examination.

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