The final term examinations in universities and institutions, which had been pending due to the novel Coronavirus, will now be conducted by the end of September, following safety guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Health.

Announcing the same, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” late on Monday tweeted that the UGC has revisited its earlier guidelines related to university examinations.

In view of the safety, career progression and placements of the students and their larger interests, after consulting the Union Home Ministry and Ministry of Health, he said it has been decided that “Intermediate semester students will be evaluated based on internal assessment” while “Evaluation of the terminal semester students, which was to be done through examinations in the month of July, will now be conducted by the end of September-2020”.

Pokhriyal had asked the UGC on Sunday to “revisit” the academic calendar and guidelines released in April.

According to the new guidelines, the final university exams can be held online and offline. In case a student cannot appear in September, provisions will be made so she can take the exams later.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had on Monday permitted conduct of examinations by universities and institutions. The MHA wrote a letter in this regard to the Union Higher Education Secretary.

“The final Term Examinations are to be compulsorily conducted as per the UGC Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the universities,” said a statement issued by the Home Ministry.

The MHA, however, cautioned that the examinations should be held as per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) approved by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Shortly after, the UGC issued revised guidelines on examinations and academic calendar.

All schools, colleges and universities were closed after India imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in the country. As a result, examinations too could not be held.

States like Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Odisha, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have cancelled all higher education exams and decided to promote students on the basis of previous performances.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court on Monday, while seeking the UGC and the HRD Ministry’s stand on whether to cancel the final year examination of degree courses, said that holding exams is not just a technological issue but also needs to take in account the mental preparedness of students.

“…the UGC and the Central government, ought to also bear in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in enormous mental distress and agony to students. There are families which are suffering medical illnesses and giving of examinations is not just a technological issue but the state of mental preparedness of the students also needs to be assessed,” said the court.

The court was hearing a petition filed by several students of the final year of the Delhi University seeking cancellation of the examinations in wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.