Thackeray urges PM to cancel professional exams

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct various national level apex bodies to endorse the state government’s decision to cancel various professional examinations in the state in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a letter to the PM, Thackeray said the state government has recently decided not to conduct any Final Year/Semester examinations for non-professional and professional courses for the academic year (AY) 2019-2020.

The degrees would be awarded on the basis of a formula to be decided by various universities though students have been given the option of appearing for the examinations whenever it is feasible.

The government also decided to get the decision pertaining to cancelling the professional courses exams endorsed from their respective Apex national-level bodies.

These are: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Council of Architecture (CoA), Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), Bar Council of India (BCI), National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE) and National Council for Hotel Management & Catering Technology (NCHMCT).

Thackeray urged Modi to instruct all these Apex bodies to endorse the decision of the state government regarding the cancellation of Final Year/Semester examinations of these professional courses and issue necessary guidelines to the universities.

On June 19, in a significant decision, Maharashtra announced cancellation of all the crucial final year examinations for professional and non-professional courses in all state universities for the current AY-2019-2020 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As many as 734,516 students were due to appear for examinations in various non-professional courses (like BA, BCom, BSc., etc) and another 283,937 pupils for professional courses (like BE, LlB, BCA, etc) for the AY-2019-2020 final year examinations scheduled by 14 government universities, according to Higher & Technical Education Minister Uday Samant.

The decision follows the recommendations of a state-level committee appointed as per the UGC guidelines which submitted its report last month, and a series of meetings held since.

However, owing to the pandemic and the series of lockdowns since March, all examination schedules for the AY-2019-2020 have gone haywire.

For the non-professional degree courses, the students’ performance would be assessed on the basis of their past examination results for passing them and awarding degrees this year.

Nevertheless, in case students want to opt for writing their examinations, they will have to make a written application to the university or the district collectorate concerned and depending on the Covid-19 situation, a suitable decision would be taken in the matter.

As far as the professional courses are concerned, while the state has expressed its inability to conduct their examinations, the final decision would be taken by their central governing boards/councils which would be conveyed later.

On the issue of backlog of past students having ATKT status, a separate announcement is expected to be made shortly, officials said.

Citing reasons, the government has said that as many as 41 varsity buildings and 198 students’ hostels have been taken over for Corona patients’ isolation, and a majority of the students have vacated these premises to return to their homes.

Given the pandemic, it would be difficult to complete the entire examination formalities like setting question papers, finalising exam halls and centres, paper checking, marksheets, declaring the results, revaluation, police security, the movement of students, teachers, academic staff, etc.

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