College exams from October 1 to 18
The state-aided universities will have to conduct the final-year undergraduate and postgraduate exams between October 1 and 18 and the results will have to be declared by October 31, the Bengal government has said.
Each university has to decide whether the exams will be held in the pen-and-paper or online mode or a mix of the two.
The decisions were taken at a virtual meeting education minister Partha Chatterjee held with the vice-chancellors of all state-aided universities on Monday.
“The minister said that if a test is held online, the university concerned has to ensure that not a single student fails to write a paper because of lack of infrastructure or a smart device,” a vice-chancellor who attended the meeting said.
Almost all universities were of the opinion that the students should not be asked to write the papers on the campuses in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, the VC said.
The colleges will have to identify the students who do not have the facilities at home for taking an online test and make alternative arrangements for them. One possible option is to send the question papers to those students so they can write the answers following the open-book examination system, which the UGC guidelines allow.
The Supreme Court had on Friday upheld the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) directive to the universities to hold final-year undergraduate and postgraduate exams by September 30. But the apex court also left it to the state governments to decide whether they would postpone the exams because of the Covid-related situation.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said after the Supreme Court gave its directive that she would ask the education minister to discuss the matter with the VCs and take a decision on when to conduct the exams.
Bengal was among the states that had opposed holding final-year undergraduate and postgraduate exams out of fear that the students, and through them their families, would be exposed to the Covid-19 infection.
The state higher education department had on June 27 advised the universities that final-year undergraduate and postgraduate students should be assessed by giving 80 per cent weightage to the best performance in the previous semester/year and 20 per cent to the marks in the internal exams of the current semester/year.
The advisory was issued in line with the UGC’s April 29 guideline that had given the universities the flexibility to decide on the mode of examination.
On July 6, the UGC issued fresh guidelines saying the terminal semester/annual exams of the graduating students would have to be held by September 30, through pen-and-paper or online or a combination of the two.
The education minister told the VCs on Monday that the state government would not issue any fresh advisory regarding exams for the final-year students.
Several universities had already assessed the final-year students on the basis of their performance in the previous university exams and declared the results.
These universities too will have to conduct the exams, as directed by the Supreme Court.
The third-year BA and BSc exams under the 1+1+1 system and the final (sixth) semester exams in BCom were scheduled for April but got deferred because of Covid-19. The final-year (fourth) semester postgraduate exams also got deferred because of the pandemic.