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Exams not possible now, says Mamata

The chief minister on Thursday said the education department had discussed with vice-chancellors of all universities before taking the decision
Mamata Banerjee

Our Special Correspondent   |   Calcutta   |   Published 17.07.20, 03:18 AM

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said it was not “possible” to conduct the final-year undergraduate and masters  examinations “now”, as recommended by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in its revised guidelines.

She said the state government had already taken the decision to not hold the final-year examinations following an earlier order of the Union home ministry and the UGC in April.

“The decision has been taken after consulting all stakeholders — students, teachers, colleges. It is not possible to conduct the examinations now….The home ministry and the UGC had issued an order earlier… We have followed that order,” the chief minister told a news conference at Nabanna.

The third-year BA and BSc examinations under the 1+1+1 system and the final semester examinations in BCom were slated in April but they got deferred because of Covid-19.

The chief minister said the higher education department had already conveyed its decision to not conduct graduating examinations so that there was no tension among students. “The education department has announced the decision so that there is no tension among final-year students,” she said.

On July 6, the UGC had issued revised guidelines, saying graduating students would have to “compulsorily” complete the terminal semester/annual exams by the end of September 30, through pen-and-paper or online or blend of the two modes.

Bengal’s higher education department had on June 27 advised the universities that final-year students should be assessed in their terminal exams by giving 80 per cent weightage to the best performance in the previous semester/year’s results/mid-semester and 20 per cent to the current semester/year internal semester.

The advisory was issued in line with the UGC’s April 29 guideline that had given the universities the flexibility to decide the mode of examination.

The chief minister on Thursday said the education department had discussed with vice-chancellors of all  universities before taking the decision on not holding the final examinations.

The chief minister’s clarification on the government’s stand came a day after all 20 vice-chancellors of  state universities stayed away from a virtual meeting convened by governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, also the chancellor of state universities, ostensibly to discuss the possibility of conducting the final examinations as recommended by the UGC.

The chief minister reminded the governor that she had already written to the Prime Minister and requested him to ask the UGC to reconsider its decision since the number of Covid-19 cases was rising.

She added that the governor could not ask vice-chancellors to attend a meeting without seeking approval from the state higher education department.

According to a rule framed by the state government in 2019, all communications of the chancellor with vice-chancellors should be routed through the higher education department.

It also states that the vice-chancellors can call meetings of their policy-making bodies like the syndicate and senate of Calcutta University in consultation with the higher education department and not the chancellor.

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