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Online university exams a ‘remote possibility’ as UGC officials highlight host of concerns

UGC committee is studying the issue of online exams, but it has received ‘serious concerns’ on India’s ability to conduct them for all university students.

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New Delhi: Online examinations across universities in India seem to be a remote possibility amid the Covid-19 lockdown, as the University Grants Commission (UGC) thinks India doesn’t have the required wherewithal to conduct them, ThePrint has learnt.

Most central universities have had to postpone their final exams, which usually take place in March and April, due to the restrictions brought in to curb the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.

The UGC last week had constituted a seven-member committee, headed by Haryana University vice-chancellor R.C. Kuhad, to look into higher education matters such as examinations and continuing the academic session. This committee also seems to be against the idea of conducting online exams, as it feels India does not have the required infrastructure for it.

The committee, which is supposed to submit its report to the government by today, 13 April, is yet ready to do so. But sources aware of the developments said the committee is not in favour of online examinations, a thought echoed by officials in the UGC as well. Instead, discussions are on to postpone exams until whenever colleges and universities can re-open.

Committee chief Kuhad told ThePrint: “We have received some serious concerns and various suggestions regarding holding exams, and we are working towards finding a solution.”

Also read: New academic calendar, vacations, how to conduct college exams — latest task for Modi govt

UGC officials sum up concerns

A senior UGC official, who did not wish to be named, explained the problem in conducting online exams in India.

“Online examinations in universities look like a remote possibility, because we do not have a mechanism of conducting exams through online mode. Also, there are many students who are in rural areas, or areas that do not have proper access to facilities. How will they be able to write exams?” the official said.

“These are the questions that the committee is dealing with, and is tilting against the idea of having online exams. What they are looking at, instead, is suggesting that the universities conduct exams after June, once the schools and colleges are open. We also agree with the idea that universities are not capable of holding online examinations,” the official added.

A second UGC official concurred. “There are lakhs of students across various universities in India. Holding online examinations for such a huge number of students across will be difficult because of the lack of infrastructure,” this official said.

“How will the universities make sure students are not cheating sitting at home? How will they ensure this facility is not misused? There are a lot of concerns that the stakeholders will have to look at.”

UGC secretary Rajnish Jain told ThePrint that as soon as the committee submits its report to the government and receives an OK from the human resource development ministry, “a formal announcement will be made for all universities to follow”.

Also read: IITs, IIMs ready for all possible scenarios after US firm rescinds job offers amid Covid-19

Teachers also oppose online exams

Teachers’ organisations have also asked the government not to conduct exams online.

The Delhi University Teachers’ Association expressed its apprehensions in a statement released Sunday, saying: “Online education model cannot be a substitute to regular classroom teaching. It does not work in a country where internet connectivity and smartphones are limited to a class of students only.”

The Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (ABRSM), an RSS-affiliated teachers’ body, also gave several suggestions to the UGC about exams and academic sessions, but did not talk about online examinations.

“First preference should be given to the completion of examinations for final semester/year of graduation and post-graduation after opening of HEIs (higher education institutions). The decision regarding method of conducting the examinations other than final examination should be left to universities, but mass promotion should be avoided,” the body said in a letter to the UGC.

“The exams may be conducted by administering question papers through multiple choice questions in OMR sheets to facilitate early results,” it added.

DU preparing for online exams

Universities have some autonomy when it comes to decisions on holding exams, but most of them are waiting for the UGC directive in an unprecedented situation like this.

The Delhi University, for example, has already begun preparations for conducting online exams, despite the uncertainty about the academic calendar and opposition from its teachers’ union. But it too is waiting for a UGC nod.

“There are more than nine lakh students in Delhi University who are waiting to write their exams. Keeping their future in mind, we have begun preparations for conducting online exams. But we are still awaiting directions from UGC to go ahead with the plan,” Vinay Gupta, dean of examinations at DU, said.

Also read: DU hasn’t paid for online journals and portals, can’t access them from home, say teachers


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  1. It is good idea for conducting the online exam but how can conduct the descriptive question it is possible? and then every students are don’t know the past typewriting. so many problems are there so it is very difficult for the students community.

  2. Jaise ki sab kuch open ho gaya to University aur college band krne ka kya matlab hai. isse to students ka bhut nukshan ho rha hai. Jb har kuch open ho gaya hai kuch condition ke sath to kya college aur university condition ke sath open nahi ho sakte. college and university ko open krna chahiye odd and even formula ke sath. New session July se start kr dena chahiye.. taki dheere dheere students ka darr khatam ho jaye. Pehle college and university ko bade students ke liye open krna chahiye….

  3. Promoting is the only option which can be done in this situation . Online exam cant be done due to lack of infrastructure in india.

  4. Promoting of 1st and 2year will be a good decision so that they can conduct the exams for the final year students peacefully and graduate them.
    So that the next process can go smoothly
    There will be no delay in upcoming academic

  5. We the students of Kashmir University have already lost one academic year,I am student of msc batch 2018 even in 2020 I am waiting for my second sem exam

  6. As many other comments have previously stated, conducting online examinations is not viable as many students lack access to the internet. Furthermore, this may also lead to distorted results as students can easily Google the answers or get help with no one to monitor them. The most viable solution is to cancel all examinations and promote/ graduate students on pro rata basis. Waiting to write the exams also makes no sense since many final year students are also applying for universities abroad and are unable to do so because of the constant postponement of exams. I humbly request you to cancel all exams and mark students on pro rata basis, keeping in mind the health, safety and future of all the students. There are many students who belong to the “red zones” as well as international students for whom travel will be not only extremely difficult but also extremely risky. Travelling back and forth will also lead to a wider spread of the virus and create an even more dangerous situation.

  7. Please don’t take online Exams .Students living in Rural areas suffer from it . Promote Students on their previous marks its a humble request

  8. What is the point of these examinations if the add no value to the overall development of students? When will Indian Education System stop being a Stress Pressure Cooker?

  9. Homes cannot provide the required environment to give exams. We expect pin drop silence in exam halls, can we expect that at homes?

    Not every student has access to laptops and online study materials. Who would be responsible for poor performance of such students?

  10. UG and PG final year exam should be conduct and all other student promote to next year is best decision.

  11. The best option is to take examinations through online mode.We should not underestimate our students. Even the rural area are behind.The student who takes admission in University level certainly have access to online modes.Foreign Universities have already adopted this online examinations system long back. This gives less stress to students who can utilize their brains in other creative fields. This is the right time to make our generation technosavy as they have to compete in the world market in future.At the most we can bring certain modifications in online programs.

  12. In this tough time,the only option available is to take examinations through online mode.We should not underestimate our students. All the students who come to take admissions in University level definitely have access to online technology. The rural areas are not backward now.The foreign Universities have already been doing this since long.This gives less stress to students and their brains can be utilized in other creative fields. This is the best time to make our generation technosavy as our students have to compete in the world market in future.

  13. Don’t put online exams sir please my humble request to all of u because we have a lack of infrastructure and poor network access in rural areas thank you
    The decision depends upon u

  14. Students living in Digitally inaccessible areas will suffer if exam are online. Mass cheating and copying also cannot be ruled out. However some assignments and projects can be given to accomplish and can be graded. But the practical part still remains elusive.

  15. Many students don’t have internet access in their home town.
    In jammu kashmir,speed is limited upto 2g only, in the era of 5g

  16. most of the students don’t have internet access in their home town.
    In jammu kashmir,speed is limited upto 2g only, in the era of 5g

  17. Online exam ‘s are very difficult and it creates chaos offline exams are impossible so please promote students.

  18. Online exam is not sutaible for all students because in rural areas there is lack of network and internet problems and nowadays use of social media has been increase so internet issues are there

  19. Students who are in the final session should get their exam done when the lockdown opens so that their degree can be made. The remaining students should be sent to the next class and the marks of the upcoming session should be given in the previous session. Just like the students who are in the first year, they should be sent in the second year and the marks obtained in the second year should be offered in the first year, similarly the students who are in the second year should be sent in the third year and the marks obtained in the third year should offered in the second year.
    In this way, time will also be saved and there will be a chance for improvement.

    If the examinations occur after the lockdown opens, it will take a long time to check the answer sheet and it will have an impact on the upcoming session.
    Do not get online examination because there are many students who do not have such facilities that they can take the online examination.

    • आपकी राय से पूर्ण रूप से सहमत हूं और सभी छात्र भी यही चाहते हैं

    • Are you stupid guys, Why 1 and 2 year student can not take exam .if exam hold,only final year will not take exam .All student s should complesury . Otherwise all are promoted.

    • Best idea and in this way students can also get fair chance. Ugc should promote 1st year and 2nd year students.

  20. It is impossible to conduct the examinations online here as the internet facilities are not available at all the location of this State.

  21. Apart from the lack of infrastructure, it would not be possible for the exam conducting body to ensure whether the students are not cheating. Technology is much agile today. Anyone using any means of AI (Artificial Inellugence) would easily have access to quick answers without using his intellect and knowledge.

    Hence conducting online exams would not be equitable for all the students. UGC must find any other alternative for the same.

  22. We being a student oppose online exams because during online classes only we face lost of network issues then how could we attend online exams especially sciences students how can both practical and theory exam be conducted through online. And mainly we finals years need a good percentage in exams. My opinion is we cant score good marks through online exam as there will be time limit to each question and this wil be very remarkable in our CV

  23. Why not promote the first and second years to the next academic year directly by calculating their continuous assessment one and continuous assessment two marks and also calculate their assignment marks along with continuous assessment one and continuous assessment two…. Give a long vacation….

  24. This is really a stupid decision considering still a large section of the Indian society don’t have access to internet. Have you even thought about the students who come from small villages or what about students who don’t have good internet connection? What if the internet goes off during middle of exam? The deans should look into all matters before taking a decision. Besides,this will create more pressure on students and families for getting recharges done. Is this education system only for the so called high society/high class students? Sickening.

  25. यह एक बहुत ही अच्छा है, लेकिन शायद इस बात को स्वीकार नहीं किया जा सकता है। क्यो कि गांव में रहने वालों तक इन्टरनेट कनेक्शन नहीं है, जिस वजहों से भी यह उपाय बहुत कम लोगों को लाभ पहुंचाने में कामयाब हो सकते हैं।

  26. Online exam will be a total failure
    There are students from Kashmir And Sikkim too.Additionally more than 50 percent students are fron rural India.
    These days we all are aware of the internet speed levels.
    Please re think upon this .
    Dont play with the lives of students.

  27. Universities shouldn’t be allowed for conducting online examinations.If universities would allowed for conducting online examination, it will be a huge disaster. And what about professional entrance examinations?

  28. If universities would allowed for conducting online examination, it will be a huge disaster. And what about professional entrance examinations?

  29. Today was my cuet but I couldn’t take it because of the server problems. The online exam is a major setback for most of the students. This issue should be raised and measures should be taken to help the students.

  30. Online examination is not best way for conducting exam. Because most of the students don’t have internet access in their home town.

  31. Dear sir/ ma’am,
    Sir/ ma’am there are so many student who will not given online exam who will have problems with the network in rural areas, and they will have problems in giving online exams for them, sir humble request is not to do online exam

  32. The UGC should ask the universities to allocate projects to the students. Rather than postponing the exams to June. It only creates more chaos by doing what’s mentioned. Projects can be done offline and online. And for those who have practicals, there can be exams during June.

  33. Our infrastructure especially in rural areas are very poor and we are very weak in adoption for new technology. first we should developed the tradition to adopting new technology .from new session it must compulsory.

  34. Wherever, whenever, whatever news article I read regarding education or exams. Whether it is online or offline. I don’t know why the cover photos are focused only on female students. Can’t you find any male students studying at colleges? Or maybe it is just to add some glamour to your articles.

  35. As per the sources statement “Online examinations in universities look like a remote possibility, because we do not have a mechanism of conducting exams through online mode. Also, there are many students who are in rural areas, or areas that do not have proper access to facilities. How will they be able to write exams?”, I agree but how do you expect the same sets of people to get the learning from if they don’t have internet connectivity, even if lockdown ends they won’t have any knowledge of the subjects of their respective courses, don’t play with the students, you people take decision sitting in your office, think about both the sides of the scenario, i hope something better comes out as an option.

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