UGC building
UGC building in New Delhi | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) is firm on its decision that educational institutions hold final-year exams despite students’ and parents’ concerns about the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.

“The UGC stand is very clear, universities will have to complete the final exam, whether they do it through online mode, offline or blended mode, it’s up to them,” UGC vice-chairman Bhushan Patwardhan told ThePrint when asked about the misgivings regarding the idea. “Without examination, how can the universities grant a degree?”

On 6 July, the UGC had issued revised guidelines for higher education institutions, directing mandatory final-year exams across all universities. The directive has led to much opposition among students, and it was also challenged in the Supreme Court earlier this week.

Also Read: UGC cites top universities like MIT, Cambridge to justify decision to hold final-year exams

‘Don’t undermine autonomy of universities’

Defending the UGC’s orders, Patwardhan said they don’t undermine the autonomy of universities and do not force them to adopt a specific mode for evaluation. “Universities can do the evaluation the way they want to, the guidelines are not imposing on them,” he added.

He said nearly 75 per cent of the universities have either conducted their final exams or are in the process of doing so, adding that only a very small portion of universities are still undecided.

According to latest data shared by UGC, as of 22 July, 603 of 954 universities in India have either conducted final-year examinations or are planning to do so by September.

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The UGC had asked all state, central and private universities to inform them about the status of exams, and 818 had submitted their responses by 22 July.

Some states, including Maharashtra, have decided to not hold formal exams despite the UGC guidelines. However, the Maharashtra order was challenged in the Bombay High Courtby a retired teacher. In its affidavit to the court, the UGC had subsequently said the state government has no power to cancel the exam.

The UGC said “its guidelines have to be adopted by all education institutions”. The matter will now be heard on 31 July.

A similar decision has been