CHENNAI: The State government has informed the Madras High Court that it cancelled the arrear exams of college students with a view to alleviate their distress triggered by Covid pandemic. M Ilango Henry Dass, joint secretary of Higher Education Department, in a reply, submitted that it was done to ensure that the students “skillfully navigate the course” and to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
The government also asserted that the decision would not demoralise meritorious students as only a “moderate minimum pass mark” has been awarded to students with arrears. The department was replying to a batch of pleas moved by former Anna University vice-chancellor E Balaguruswamy and Advocate Ramkumar Adityan and others challenging the GO to cancel arrear exams.
As per the guidelines of the UGC, the State constituted a committee to work out the modalities and adopt the UGC guidelines. The decision to cancel the exams were taken only based on the recommendation of the committee, said the reply.
Stressing that the GO was not in violation of the UGC guidelines, the reply said, “UGC guidelines specifically stated that the guidelines are advisory in nature and each university may chart out its own plan of action taking into consideration the issues pertaining to the pandemic as its degree of impact varies from region to region.”
Therefore, the government consulted the State universities and the GO was issued, the department said. “In the absence of any specific guidelines about arrear papers, the State extended the exemption already granted to regular students to the arrear students so as to avoid discrimination,” the department said.