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Delhi govt cancel exams at all state universities

New Delhi: The Delhi government on Saturday cancelled all end-semester examinations in eight state universities across the capital in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a move that will impact more than 130,000 students. This came on a day when Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to intervene and scrap exams for students from central universities. In Delhi’s state universities, students across all years will now be evaluated on the basis of internal assessments and previous examinations.

Deputy chief minister and Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia at a digital press conference said it would be unfair to hold exams for students as the pandemic had disrupted all teaching-learning activities since March. Sisodia added that the Delhi government’s decision did not extend to Delhi University (DU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and other central universities in the national capital.

While DU has postponed its first-ever online open book exams to August amid student outrage, JNU had asked its schools and centres to opt for online and offline modes of exam following consultation with students and teachers.

The Delhi government runs eight state universities — Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU), Delhi Technological University (DTU), Delhi Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research University (DPSRU), Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women (IGDTUW), Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi (IIIT-D), Ambedkar University (AUD), Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT), and National Law University Delhi (NLU).

“Though online classes are being conducted, the absence of in-person lessons, including lab classes, practicals, and field research has hampered the students’ learning. It will be unfair and difficult to hold examinations for the semester for which teaching-learning was hampered,” Sisodia said on Saturday.

These universities have been directed to evaluate students on the basis of exams already conducted in previous semesters, internal assessments, or other progressive ways, Sisodia said.

“The ones who were to appear for semester examinations should be promoted to the next semester on the basis of internal assessment and their performance in the mid-term exams. The final semester/year students should also be evaluated on the previous semesters, performance in internal assessments. Awarding degrees to students is very important because they have studied for three or four years and now want to start working and support their families as well as the economy,” he said.

The decision comes after the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Monday asked all universities to conduct end-semester examinations for final-year students by September whether through offline or online modes, or a blend of both. After Punjab, West Bengal, Odisha, and Maharashtra, Delhi becomes the fifth state to say it won’t be able to adopt UGC guidelines.

However, UGC secretary Rajnish Jain on Saturday told HT said that UGC guidelines are to be adopted by all states for universities and colleges across the nation.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Kejriwal said the UGC’s order had caused anger among students, teachers, and parents. “When renowned institutes like IIT and NLU have awarded degrees on the basis of internal assessments, why can’t other universities do the same,” he asked. The chief minister said that while all state university exams had been cancelled in Delhi, decision for central universities like DU, can only be taken by the Centre.”

HT reached out to several senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office for comment on Saturday, but did not receive a response.

However, some students said the Delhi government’s decision holds little significance for students from institutes like Ambedkar University (AUD), where the focus is on continuous assessments through the entire semester instead of weightage on end-semester examinations.

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