Minister for Higher and Technical Education, Uday Samant, announced on Thursday, April 22, 2021, that exams for undergraduate students in 13 state-run universities in Maharashtra shall be conducted through the online mode. The minister shall further request the state government to include exam-related activities in the list of essential services. Recently, the Maharashtra government imposed strict curbs and restrictions to tackle the rising COVID 19 cases. These circumstances prompted the government to conduct exams online for first-to-third year students, Samant informed.
The cabinet minister consulted certain vice-chancellors of universities governed by the Maharashtra government. Subsequently, Samant decided to request the state authorities to include certain exam-related activities in the “essential” category. According to the Minister, multiple exams had already been conducted earlier in various universities of Maharashtra situated in Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune and Gondwana.
The government is currently trying to vaccinate students between the age group of 18-25. Approximately 37 lakh students study in the 13 state-run universities of Maharashtra. These individuals can be vaccinated at their respective institute premises, clarified Samant, though the final decision on the same is still pending.
Recently, the central government decided to open a vaccination facility for all individuals who are 18 years and above. This facility is scheduled to begin across the country from May 01, 2021, and registration for the same shall start from April 28, 2021.
Also in Maharashtra, the University of Health Sciences (MUHS) and the state education minister postponed the MBBS exams for second and third year students. These exams shall be conducted in June 2021. However, the National Medical Commission (NMC) issued an advisory afterwards for all medical institutions in the state. According to the advisory, MBBS second-year exams shall be held only through the offline mode. Moreover, supplementary exams for the first and second semesters must also be conducted offline.
NMC’s Undergraduate Medical Education Board also recently reiterated the advisory issued by authorities. According to the board, medical institutions are hereby, instructed to follow the norms specified for holding theory exams. However, there is immense risk in conducting these exams due to the location of medical colleges. To counter these risks, institutes must take all the precautionary measures. Furthermore, exams must be conducted in the staggered format in small batches.
Maharashtra is the worst-affected state in India, reporting 50,000-60,000 COVID-19 cases every day. Due to this, second and third year students medical students were incessantly requesting the state government to postpone their exams. These exams were originally scheduled to be conducted in February 2021 but were postponed to March 2021. MUHS again postponed the exams to April 2021 due to the rising coronavirus cases. However, they are now scheduled to be conducted in June 2021.