Final year students in colleges will have to take their final exams, said Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. He also added that the University Grants Commission (UGC) will take the final decision on the matter. The minister was speaking to educators from across the country in a live session organised by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
Students studying in the first year will be promoted on the basis of their latest academic records while for second-year students the pass mark will be decided on internal marks and the previous year or semester record — both will have equal weightage, said the minister. “But the final exams will take place. If the condition does not improve by July then the new dates will be released soon,” he added. “UGC now has a task-force to finalise on how and when the final year exams can be conducted. We are taking recommendations from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in this regard. The students’ health is paramount to us. We can opt to promote first-year students based on internal assessment, second-year students can be promoted based on the basis of inter assessment and previous academic record. But, for final year students the exams will take place,” said Pokhriyal and added that if students have grievances or doubts they can reach out to COVID-19 task force of UGC or their respective departments in colleges.
“It makes me proud that the education department, the teachers and the parents have continued their work even during this crisis. The teachers have made sure that not one minute is lost even during this lockdown and have ensured that the students are not only educated but also stay motived and encouraged in these tough times,” said the HRD minister. “I have spoken to teachers, students and parents across the country and also had one-on-one interactions with education ministers from the states and it is amazing how we are here today to speak to the teachers of the degree colleges today. Ours is a very big family of educators and an even bigger family of students — the number of students here is more than the entire population of the USA — and this is the future we need to invest in. This is a great responsibility,” added Pokhriyal.
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A total of 4,60 lakh students have taken tests on the National Testing Abhyas app, which provides free mock tests to the JEE and NEET aspirants, within three days of its launch. The app has been created by the National Testing Agency (NTA). This was needed as exam test practice centres were closed due to the pandemic, said the minister. “As the education system has moved online, we have made efforts to ensure to reach out to even the students in remotest areas. We have made Swayam the biggest online portal in the world. For students who do not have access to the internet are given access to education through television sets. Soon, e-vidya will become one portal for one nation. Online education should be of high quality and to ensure that NAAC will have to create a new assessment system for online education. We will come out with this soon,” said Pokhriyal. Students across the country have been protesting against online exams as there is no internet connectivity in remote areas from where a lot of them hail.
Around 7.5 lakh students who were set to go abroad for studies will search for their future in India, said the minister. “Our education institutes are not inferior. We are competing with top universities in the international ranking indices. Rather foreign students will come to India and Indian teachers will be in demand to teach in foreign nations,” he added. “While the rest of the world was sitting at their homes, Indian students were working hard to fight the pandemic. Indian students are pursuing high quality research and proving themselves at every corner. We are proud of them and their hard work. Right from masks to testing kit for coronavirus, to portable ventilators — students have made it all possible,” said Pokhriyal.
Takshshila and Nalanda were our pride, said Pokhriyal, who is known to be a great advocate of the Indian heritage of education and learning — right from the times of the Vedas. “They were the top institutes not only in India but globally. Now, we will aim to achieve that glory again. The new India and new education policy will focus on that. New ideas, science and research will be the core. We have incorporated views and suggestions from lakhs of people from all levels of education and economy,” the minister added. “Institutes should participate in accreditation and assessment systems. They might not get ranking in the first year but maybe the next year. We need to work hard and work in a mission mode. Those who work hard are the happiest. Colleges have the future of the nation in their hands,” said Pokhriyal.
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