Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the University Grants Commission to cancel the examinations in all central government universities across the country amid the coronavirus crisis. His appeal came on the same day the Delhi government announced the cancellation of exams in all state-run universities.

“For the sake of our youth, I urge the honourable Prime Minister to personally intervene and cancel final year exams of DU [Delhi University] and other central government universities and save the future,” Kejriwal tweeted along with his letter to Modi.

Kejriwal asked why other institutes could not follow the example of the Indian Institute of Technology and the National Law University and give degrees to their students on the basis of internal assessment.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia had said that it would be difficult to conduct exams when regular classes had not been held in colleges.

Sisodia added that students cannot be made to sit for examinations because of coronavirus risks but it was also important to award them degrees. “Students who have worked hard for three to four years want to now apply for jobs,” he said. “Some have got jobs and others want to apply for higher courses. We have asked universities to come up with some evaluation parameters and give students their degrees. It would be unfair to make students take exams but it would also be wrong to hold their degrees.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also appealed to the prime minister to re-examine the UGC’s direction to colleges to conduct final examinations by the end of September.

On Friday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had also objected to the Centre’s decision to allow colleges and universities to conduct final year examinations amid a surge in coronavirus cases in India. He said that the decision was unfair.

Earlier this week, the Union Home Ministry had allowed universities and institutions to conduct their final year examinations as per UGC’s guidelines. The exams have been pending since March due to the imposition of a lockdown to contain the coronavirus.

The UGC had said that the end-of-term exams can be held by September-end in offline, online, or blended (online + offline) modes. UGC had added that terminal semester or final year students who have backlogs should compulsorily be evaluated by conducting exams.

Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, and West Bengal have already cancelled their college and university examinations.

The Centre has announced several measures over the last few weeks to ease the academic burden on students during the pandemic. The Central Board of Secondary Education on Tuesday said it will reduce the syllabi for Classes 9 to 12 for the academic year 2020-’21 by up to 30% due to the coronavirus crisis. Some Class 10 and 12 board exams were also cancelled.

The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations declared its results for the Class 10 and Class 12 on Friday, and 99.34% of the students passed the Class 10 ICSE exams. The pass percentage for the Class 12 Indian School Certificate was 96.84%. The council said it will not publish the list of toppers this year.

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