Rashmi Ranjan

Bhubaneswar: Given the grave situation, Odisha Higher Education department on Thursday sent another letter to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) urging it not to make the conduct of Under Graduation (UG) and Post Graduation (PG) final semesters mandatory in the State.

The move from the Higher Education department came after it did not receive any response to its first letter in which it had urged the ministry not to make UG and PG final exams compulsory.

In the second letter to MHRD, State Higher Education minister Arun Sahoo mentioned "With unavailability of basic tools for online classes, proper transportation system and rising cases of COVID-19 cases, it is difficult to conduct online examinations in the State."

“The number of UG and PG final semester in Odisha is about 2 lakhs. Most of them belong to low and middle income group and do not have desktop or laptop or decent smartphone at home. Most of them also stay in rural areas not having reliable Internet connection. Therefore, conducting on-line examination for such a large number of students is simply not possible,” the letter read.

“Conducting physical examination will expose the students, college staff and their family members to the risk of COVID 19. Moreover, as public transportation is now virtually non-existent, it is not possible on part of the students to come to their respective colleges,” the letter stated.

Earlier on July 9, Sahoo had written to MHRD to reconsider the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) revised guidelines and not make the UG and PG final semesters compulsory in the times of a pandemic.

Notably, out of 818 universities, 603 varsities have either conducted the examinations or planning to conduct them, informed University Grants Commission (UGC) after receiving responses from universities with regard to the conduct of terminal semester or final year examinations.

(Edited By Devbrat Patnaik)

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