Less than 48 hours before their online exams for final year (summer 2020) batch was scheduled to commence, authorities at the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University released a statement confirming that their exams have been deferred indefinitely. Reason being a pen-down strike called by all the university non-teaching staff, demanding the immediate implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission wages. By late Tuesday evening, authorities of universities in Jalgaon and Aurangabad and Amravati also released a similar statement, announcing their decision to defer exams that were scheduled to begin on October 1 at all four universities.
In separate circulars released by the examination departments of the respective universities, the spokespersons highlighted that new dates for exams are yet to be finalised.
“The decision to conduct online exams for end-of-term final year students starting October 1 will have to be deferred for the time being as all employees have called for a pen-down strike, as mentioned in a meeting with state education department officials on September 29,” said a statement released by the examination department of Nagpur University.
Circulars from Aurangabad, Amravati and Jalgaon universities were also released stating the same reason for the deferment of online exams. “The pen-down strike officially started on September 24 and since the strike continues, exams starting October 1 will have to be deferred. A new timetable with rescheduled exam dates will be announced soon,” said a statement released by Jalgaon University director of Examination and Evaluation department, BP Patil.
Closer home, University of Mumbai decided to opt for decentralised exams by giving each college the choice to conduct exams as per their schedule, as long as they follow the exams are held online and in MCQ format. “Since colleges are conducting the exams in clusters, no exam will be deferred for MU affiliated colleges. Students need not worry,” said a spokesperson for MU. Most MU colleges will start online exams from October 5 this year.
Due to Covid-19 cases and the eventual nation-wide lockdown implemented since March this year, final year university exams had to be postponed time and again. After receiving several petitions from different states seeking permission to cancel final year exams and instead promote students based on their performance in previous semesters, the Supreme Court in August 2020 clarified that exams will compulsorily have to be taken and only then can students be promoted.
After much discussion, the state minister for higher and technical education Uday Samant in September announced that all final year exams for state university students will be conducted online, and in multiple-choice question (MCQ) format. While online exams for backlogs/allowed to keep term (ATKT) students were to take place in the last week of September, online exams for final year students were supposed to take place between October 1 and 31 and results for the same have to be announced by the first week of November, the state has clarified.