The UGC has told the Supreme Court that it will not be possible for it to alter its guidelines of July 6. The guidelines had mandated that all the universities across India had to conduct their final exam by the end of September.
The Supreme Court was informed by the UGC that a report has been submitted by the expert committee, headed by RC Kuhad. The committee had submitted a report recommending that terminal semester examinations should be conducted across all Universities/Colleges in India, by the end of September.
In a meeting held on July 6, the report was deliberated and approved by UGC. The schedule of exams by universities and institutions was also permitted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
The academic regulator in its affidavit said that it is submitted that such guidelines have been issued by the UGC to protect the academic future of the students across India. If the final year/terminal semester examinations are not held, it will cause irreparable damage to the future of these students.
The importance of the final year exams was discussed in the 50-page-affidavit. The UGC said that the learning process is a dynamic interaction where the only way to figure out something the students know is by seeking evidence of their knowledge and evaluating it.
It has been contended by the UGC that the guidelines issued by it, adequately account for the evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is because they have provided sufficient time until the end of September to conduct the exams. Flexibility has also been provided to the institutions in the mode of examinations, they can conduct it offline, online, or a blended route.
In case, students are not able to appear in the exams held by September-end, they will be given a second chance when special-exams will be conducted at a later date.
The UGC while emphasizing that the academic evaluation of terminal semester/final year students is a very important milestone, insisted on the non-interference of the courts on these policy matters.
The UGGC said that it is well-settled that the courts of law do not ordinarily intervene in the academic policies and decisions involving the quality and standard of education.
The decision of certain state governments like Maharashtra, and Delhi to cancel the exams and promote the students based on past performances was also criticized by the UGC. It said in the affidavit that such a decision directly affects the standard of higher education in the country. It will be an encroachment of the legislative field of determining and coordinating the standards of education that are exclusively reserved for Parliament.
The top court was urged by UGC to dismiss the batch of pleas that oppose the guidelines of July 6.