Maharashtra Panel Suggests Passing ATKT Students Without Exams

Musab Qazi

Mumbai: Weeks after Maharashtra made the final year college examinations non-mandatory in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, a government panel has proposed clearing the backlogs of around three lakh Allowed To Keep Term (ATKT) by scoring them according to the average of their aggregate marks in previous examinations as well as grace marks, if required.

Speaking at a press conference in Mumbai, the state higher and technical education minister said that the committee of eleven vice-chancellors (V-Cs) of various non-agriculture universities as well as the directors of higher and technical education minister has recommended that the ATKT exams should be canceled and their results be declared along the lines of other examinations waived off by the state government. The committee also proposed that the students who couldn’t be passed should also be promoted by awarding them with grace marks.

The V-Cs and directors also want Maharashtra government to suspend the existing rule that requires students with backlogs by appearing for their ATKT exams within 120 days since the beginning of the academic year, said Samant.

While the state government has accepted these recommendations, it won’t issue any official directives for its implementation. “There isn’t much the government can do about these recommendations. However, the universities will act on these proposals, by consulting the governor and in accordance with the UGC guidelines,” said an aide to Samant.

The announcement came days after the University Grants Commission (UGC) released its revised guidelines that directed the universities to conduct final year examinations by September. The government, on Wednesday, wrote a letter to UGC saying that it’s unable to conduct the exams due to COVID-19 outbreak in the state.

According to the minister, the committee also recommended awarding degrees to all final year students instead of giving them the option of taking the exam or not, as has been announced by the state in a government resolution. If anyone still wants to appear for the exam they should be allowed to do so, proposed the committee.

Samant said that all the government’s decisions related to the examination, including the cancellation of final year exams, were taken after consulting V-Cs and other stakeholders. “All the V-Cs told us that theu are unable to conduct the tests,” he said

BJP leader and former higher and technical education minister Vinod Tawde called the press conference a ‘farce’ to show that the decision to cancel exams was done at the behest of V-Cs, and not the stubbornness of Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray. “Will there be exams for final year students? What about ATKT students? Instead of providing clarity on these issues, the minister added to the confusion,” he said.

Former pro V-C AD Sawant said that the minister’s indulgence in University exams is unwarranted. “The same or any other measures could have been applied by universitiesy themselves under the power of autonomy. Teaching and assessment and examinations falls under Entry 66 and to be regulated by UGC guidelines, which are binding on universities. The government must withdraw from this issue and help universities for any assistance if they require,” he said.

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