The Odisha government on Wednesday requested the University Grants Commission (UGC) to extend the deadline of the final year university exams for all undergraduate and postgraduate courses from September 30 to October 10. On behalf of the Chief Minister and Chairman of the State Disaster Management Authority Naveen Patnaik, Higher Education department secretary Saswat Mishra wrote a letter to the UGC mentioning that the extension of the deadline will ensure scheduling of the exams with at least one day gap so that the test centres can be sanitised properly.

Preparedness to conduct the examinations was discussed with university vice-chancellors and principals of autonomous colleges on 31.08.2020 through video-conferencing. “All of them are of the view that since they had earlier not planned to conduct final semester/year UG and PG examinations, about 25 days time would be required to make necessary preparation for conducting the examinations,” the letter written to the UGC secretary mentioned. Therefore the conduct of the examinations can commence from September 20, it said. “Secondly, since there will be multiple examinations (subject-wise and paper-wise), three to four examinations need to be slotted on all days, till 30.09.2020, so as to complete the examinations by 30.09.2020,” the letter said.

Conducting multiple examinations on a single day would lead to the congregation of a large number of students in examination centres which will make compliance of COVID-19 prevention protocol difficult, it said. “Conducting examinations every day, without any gap, will also lead to universities and colleges not getting enough time to sanitise and disinfect the examination centres before the next day of examination. “All vice-chancellors and principals, therefore, requested for extension of the 30.09.2020 deadline by 10 days, i.e. up to 10.10.2020,” it said.

The Supreme Court had recently ordered that states and universities cannot promote students without holding final year university examinations by September 30. However, the Court gave states the discretion to approach the UGC for an extension of the deadline by which final year exams should be completed.

Directorate of Higher Education, DHE Odisha, has informed that the state government has requested the University Grants Commission, UGC, to extend the deadline of the final year university exams for all UG, PG Courses in various colleges from September 30 to October 10, 2020. The Government of the state has also decided to complete all the final semester exams of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in varsities from September 20, 2020, and announce results before October 31 as per the UGC guidelines. The higher education department in an order said all state public universities and autonomous colleges would have to compulsorily conduct the final semester/year UG and PG examinations between September 20 and October 10.

The UGC had earlier given a deadline till September 30 which according to the state government will be difficult to adhere to due to the Covid and flood situation in Odisha. The state government in a letter to UGC said the extension of the deadline will ensure scheduling of exams with at least one day gap so that exam centres can be sanitized properly and adequate precautions are followed as per Covid protocols. The department said pending backpaper examinations of final semester UG and PG students would also need to be conducted quickly as per the UGC revised guideline. If need be, examinations can also be conducted on holidays. The order said publication of results of final semester/year UG and PG examinations, including back paper examinations must be made by October 31. Special examinations would be held for those who cannot take the final examinations now for whatever reasons. But these special examinations will be conducted by the universities and autonomous Colleges once the Covid-19 situation improves. For conducting examinations in physical mode, the department said Standard Operating Protocol communicated by HRD ministry’s July 2020 Office Memorandum has to be followed.

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