The pandemic has forced stopped several normal functions this year. Schools, offices, businesses, malls, stores, transport, etc. were forced to stop, close campuses, and stop operations. From the middle of March 2020, till date, the coronavirus pandemic has and continues to prove itself to be a curse like never before. With examinations round the corner, final year college students were left stranded, uncertain of their immediate future. When they were supposed to sit for their exams, they were at home, wondering when and if at all they would be able to graduate this year.
Amidst this confusion, rose a lot more trouble as colleges, universities, and authoritarian bodies debated upon the possibility of conducting online examinations, cancelling examinations, or postponing examinations indefinitely. Finally, the Supreme Court of India passed a verdict, stating that all universities and colleges in the country will compulsorily have to conduct final year examinations. To maintain safety procedures, the wisest decision would be to conduct them online. Since then, universities around the country like Mumbai University adapted to Online Examinations. Many had even opted to change the format of the examinations to make it a smoother process for students.
Mumbai University had changed the format of their examinations and made affiliated colleges to follow suit. They had conducted examinations in the Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) format. Recently, Mumbai University released a guideline to their affiliated colleges stating that they were to give grace marks to students who had appeared for the examinations whenever required or after discussion with lead colleges in their clusters. This was because students were appearing for a new format of the examination and may not be habituated. This decision was taken after principals of several colleges felt it was necessary to take these steps while also expressing that it would have been helpful if Mumbai University had issued a more comprehensive guideline for conducting online examinations.
“The MCQ exam is a completely different ball game- you either score fill marks or zero for a question. We have not groomed our students in this exam format. Many students are calling up to seek revision. In all the government flip-flop that has happened over the last six months, they may have forgotten concepts. Some topics were taught in college nine months ago,” said a teacher from a suburban college. She also said that 10% of the total candidates had failed in the first few backlog exams and “not many students have scored above 40 out of 50 marks.”
As per the guidelines, students will only receive grace marks if they have cleared the exam. They will not be more than 1 per cent of the aggregate marks and 5 marks in any subject. Students participating in NSS, NCC, and other inter-university cultural or sports programs, are also eligible for the grace marks.