UGC Asks Christ University to Reconsider Mode of Exam or Face Punitive Action [Update: Christ Refuses to Comply]

UGC Letter to Christ University for End-Semester Exams

On 17th June 2021, the University Grants Commission (UGC) sent a strongly worded letter to the Vice Chancellor’s Office, Christ University (“University”), asking the University to take student’s concerns into account while deciding on the patter of the exams, or face punitive action.

A few days earlier, the State General Secretary of the National Students Union of India, Karnataka had sent a representation to the UGC complaining that the University’s decision to conduct proctored online exam was taken without student consultation and would result in difficulties to students. It also mentioned that the syllabus for various subjects remained unfinished, amongst other things.

It asked for the following remedies on behalf of all students of the University:

1. Direct the University not to rely on Artificial Intelligence and Proctored mode of evaluation.

2. Direct the University to adopt alternative modes of evaluation (like Open Book Examination, Assignment Based Evaluation) which have been approved by the Higher Education Regulators and are feasible with the Students not causing more apprehensions and difficulties in the prevailing scenario.

3. Direct the university to take the entire student body through the student council into confidence while framing a policy for evaluation.

The UGC, in its reply, has endorsed the students’ demands and replied:

…students feedback may kindly be taken before exams and also students should not be targeted by faculties, administration and management. However, if Institution fails to implement the above directions, the Institution could invite punitive actions.

Bar Council of India (BCI) on End-Semester Exams

One June 2, 2021 BCI had constituted a high-level committee to decide on the method of end-semester examination for all universities across the country.

Meanwhile, the School of Law at Christ University announced exams from June 21st, which was a cause of concern amongst students, who were asking the college to wait till BCI decides on the issue.

However, in it’s notification dated June 10th 2021, BCI allowed for exams with the following conditions:

Each University/Centers of Legal Education shall conduct examination for intermediate and final year students, as per their own dispensation, depending upon the availability of resources and the impact of COVID 19 in that region.

…an end-term examination is mandatory to be conducted by all Law Schools/Universities. It was further decided that University/Centers of Legal Education are free to determine the mode of examination [Online/Offline/Blended/Online Open Book Exam (OBE)/ Assignment Based Evaluation (ABE)/Research papers].

Bar Council of India

Now it remains to be seen how Christ University is going to alter its exam structure, and if this letter by UGC provides relief for other universities where students have been voicing against proctored exams.

We have reached out to School of Law, Christ University on how they plan to conduct the exams going forward. We will update the story as soon as we get a response.

[Update: June 19, 12:15 AM] We have received updates from various students that University has refused to comply with this letter sent by UGC and has decided to go ahead with proctored exams as decided.

Meanwhile, multiple students have sent an email to the UGC and the Ministry of Education (amongst others) asking them to ensure that their University listens to students’ concerns.

Read the letter from UGC below:

UGC-Notice-converted

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