The Week in Education: Students Knock Supreme Court's Doors over UGC, JEE & NEET 2020

Samrat Roy Samrat Roy
Exam Prep Master

The week leading up to the 74th Independence Day saw students approaching different courts demanding the cancellation of NEET 2020, JEE Main 2020 and the final year of university examinations mandated by the University Grants Commission ( UGC). The petition was also referred to the Supreme Court with a plea to ensure that the two entrance tests, NEET for medicine and JEE Main for engineering, were carried out as scheduled in September.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to appear in many ways. The Delhi Hostel fired all of its clearing staff, upsetting students. Hospitality graduates are struggling to find their feet in one of the industries worst hit by the pandemic.

Some states announced the results of Class 10 and Class 12 exams during the week, while Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' also announced a reformed architecture program during the week.

Here are the highlights of this week.

UGC in Supreme Court over final year exams

The plea challenging UGC exam-related guidelines came up for hearing twice this week in the Supreme Court and hearings were adjourned both times. At the beginning of the week, SC asked the UGC and the Ministry of Home Affairs to submit their affidavits on the exams scheduled in September. On August 14, 2020 the matter was adjourned to August 18, 2020.

After Delhi and Maharashtra, Odisha made its stand clear in SC and it is against holding final year university exams.

The State Government of Odisha, through its Advocate on Record, appeared in the Hon’ble Supreme Court today in the case matter relating to cancellation of final term UG/PG examinations.The case will be heard again on Tuesday.

— ଉଚ୍ଚଶିକ୍ଷା ବିଭାଗ, ଓଡିଶା ସରକାର ???????? (@DHE_Odisha) August 14, 2020

JEE, NEET 2020 in Supreme Court

A group of students and parents filed a counter-plaint in the Supreme Court asking the National Testing Agency to conduct the NEET and JEE Main 2020 tests as scheduled in September.

This comes at the foot of the plea filed by 11 students seeking a postponement. A group of parents also moved the Supreme Court to prevent the further postponement of JEE Main and NEET 2020.

In a further development, the National Testing Agency (NTA) has clarified before the Supreme Court that it is not possible to provide National Eligibility Cum Entry Test or NEET 2020 examination centres abroad in Gulf countries.

COMEDK cleared, CLAT postponed

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was also brought before the Karnataka High Court this week challenging the decision of the Karnataka Graduate Entry Test (COMEDK UGET) 2020 Consortium of Medical Engineering and Dental Colleges on 19 August. The Karnataka HC, however, did not interfere with the schedule.

In legal education, the National Law Universities (NLU) consortium informed the High Court of Delhi that the 2020 Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) had been postponed. The plea seeking permission for candidates to take the exam from their homes instead of the exam centres is no longer admissible.

Delhi University OBE examination chaos

After receiving a go-ahead from the Delhi High Court, the University of Delhi began its online open-book examination (OBE) on August 10 for final year students.

However, as soon as the examinations began, students from different streams began sharing the challenges they faced with DU OBE, including technical glitches, registration snags, delays in power cuts and difficulties in uploading the answer sheets.

In a further development, the Mizoram University (MZU) has postponed the pre-graduate examinations scheduled to begin early this week following appeals by the student bodies and the Mizoram Principals Council due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state.

New Session, Admissions

With the results of the board of the majority of state boards and the Central Board of Secondary Education ( CBSE), some of the universities have begun their admission process. Some of the colleges have also started their online classes this week.

West Bengal has announced that students will not be charged with applying to state-run colleges and universities for admission to undergraduate courses. As per the official order, students may not be charged any money for the submission of application forms or prospectus for admission.

The application form for UG, PG, M.PHil, PhD, Certificate, Diploma and Advanced Diploma programs have also been published by Visva Bharati Santiniketan. Applicants can fill out the application form online until 15 September.

The new batch for the 2020 academic session of Xavier School of Management, XLRI, has begun. A total of 477 students have joined the program at both Jamshedpur and Delhi-NCR campuses.

NEP 2020 Impact: New Architecture regulations and exit

With the new National Education Policy 2020 announced a week ago, the various regulatory bodies have also begun to come up with new regulations in line with the NEP 2020 suggestions. This week, the Council of Architecture (COA) announced the 'Minimum Standards for Architectural Education' Regulations, 2020.

As per the revised standards, students will have the option of exiting the program at the end of three years, with an "appropriate" degree awarded by the university.

The CoA has also announced that the newly launched Regulations will introduce alternative credit systems with practical hands-on training in the eighth and ninth semesters.

In a further development in line with the NEP 2020, Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' has announced that universities will not be able to provide membership to more than 300 colleges, proposing to grant more autonomy to colleges and to phase out the affiliation system.

Board Results

The Odisha Council of Higher Secondary Education declared the Class 12 Science result this week in online mode. Read More

Muted Independence Day 2020 Celebration

Independence Day celebrations were significantly silenced by COVID-19, with several states prohibiting the gathering of children in schools. Celebrations, if they were held at all, were made online. There were flag-raising and tree-planting ceremonies with very few presents at the institutions.