All varsity exams to be offline, Said Samant


Nagpur: Putting to rest all speculations on online/offline exams, higher education minister Uday Samant on Tuesday asserted that all universities would be going ahead with pen-and-paper format only.

The minister told TOI that Nagpur University vice-chancellor Subhash Chaudhari met him in Mumbai on Monday and assured him that the university would also be going ahead with the offline mode of examination.

“Chaudhari told me that media misquoted him on the issue, and he was firm on pen-and-paper format following the consensus reached in the VCs’ meeting on April 25. I have met Aurangabad University VC, who also gave the same assurance. Many universities like Mumbai and Pune have already started summer exams,” Samant told TOI.

When pointed out the issue of a large number of subjects making it impossible for the universities to complete the exams in one-and-a-half months as instructed by the government, the minister said the universities can start papers earlier and it is not necessary to wait till June 1, as was mentioned in the guidelines.

“All the universities would have similar issues, not only the NU. The varsities have been given free hand to hold the exams as per their convenience. The gap between papers can be reduced if needed. The universities have been told to complete the process by July 15,” he said.

Chaudhari did not respond to TOI’s call or text message.
The minister’s categorical statement came at a time when the protests by students intensified across Maharashtra and exams were delayed. The protests started at NU due to flip-flops by the administration and later spread to other universities like Pune and Amravati.

NSUI, a youth wing of Congress, Nationalist Students Congress (NSC), a students’ wing of NCP, and Maharashtra Students Welfare Association (MSWA), led the demonstrations in front of various universities. The issue became a big rage on social media where students vented their ire against the government for forcing them to appear in offline papers amid the Covid scare and scorching heat. Following the protests, a majority of universities adopted a wait and watch stand and were waiting for any of them to take calls on exams, say NU officials.

NU’s Academic Council is likely to decide the fate of the inordinately delayed summer examinations when its members meet on Wednesday. The administration would be tabling the Board of Examinations and Evaluation (BOEE) decision to opt for online exams before the council members for discussion. NU officials said the BOEE decision is likely to be rejected and there would be consensus on the offline mode.

The meeting would also discuss other issues like preparation for May 25 convocation, say officials.

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