On Saturday, the Chief Ministers of Delhi, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu wrote letters against the revised guidelines by the University Grants Commission (UGC) which instruct Universities to conduct examinations by the end of September. The Chief Ministers said that this decision will highly risk the lives of students from being exposed to coronavirus. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, both wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while the K. Palaniswami, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, wrote to Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, MHRD, asking that the Centre grant freedom to states so they may work out their own ways to grade the students, without compromising on the quality and academic credibility.

Mr Kejriwal said that such desperate decisions have to be taken under crises like the coronavirus outbreak. In his tweet, in which he shared the letter sent to the Prime Minister as well, he urged Prime Minister Modi to personally intercede and cancel the exams, overruling UGC’s decision for the sake of the youth and saving their future.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said that with the increasing number of coronavirus patients, the government of West Bengal, having been advised by vice-chancellors of several Universities, released its own advisory on June 27th. The advisory entails details about the weightage to internal assessment and performance of students in earlier exams.

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There will also be a separate examination for students who wish to appear in a formal examination instead of being graded according to the evaluation method once the virus is hopefully eradicated. She claimed that teachers, students, their parents are much grateful for the state advisory. She also requested the Prime Minister to cancel all exams and repeal UGC’s new guidelines.

The CM of Tamil Nadu, K. Palaniswami, said that the government of Tamil Nadu is not in any condition to hold examinations for University students in September as many educational institutes have been transformed into health centres for coronavirus. Such a decision in the midst of the outbreak will hinder all efforts to contain the virus and put the future of students in jeopardy.

He said that UGC’s guidelines have many limitations and are difficult to enact. He claimed that it would be complicated to move students to exam centres as a good portion of them are outside the district or state. He added that it is also not possible to conduct online examinations as students might not be able to understand the whole digital examination system.

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