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The Challenges and Advantages of Conducting Exams During the COVID-19 Crisis

With universities having to adapt to the threat of COVID-19what effect will this have on the examination process? 

During the early stages of the pandemicwhen the nature of the coronavirus was still unknownmost universities made the decision to temporarily avoid all in-person contact and close their campuses completely 

For many higher education institutions, including Queen’s University Belfast, Ireland, and Australia’s Monash University, this resulted in the cancellation of upcoming examinations.  

Without a clear understanding of how the coronavirus operated and the most effective measures to prevent its spread, collecting students into one room for a prolonged period was no longer considered safe.  

However, examinations are a critical part of the higher education process and a necessary step in providing students with accurate grades.  

According to the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India, cancelling crucial higher education examinations altogether was simply not an option.  

The UGC stated: Academic evaluation of students is very important milestone in any education system. The performance in examinations gives confidence and satisfaction to the students and reflects competence, performance, and credibility that is necessary for global acceptability.” 

So, with the importance of these examinations acknowledged, how can universities continue to assess students during this crisis? 


With the status of the coronavirus pandemic constantly evolving, universities must allow for some flexibility when it comes to conducting university exams.  

Alongside their statement released in July on the importance of exams, the UGC demanded that “final year college exams must be held by September 30.” 

However, they also acknowledged that there must be a degree of flexibility to this demand, given the unpredictability of the coronavirus and its effect on the lives of students.  

To ensure no student is at a disadvantage as a result of the pandemic, the UGC confirmed that if students were unable to attend the final year exam, whether online or in-person, colleges and universities may present another opportunity “as and when feasible.“ 

If universities don’t allow for some degree of flexibility when rescheduling exams, the academic performance of students who find themselves in difficult circumstances as a result of the pandemic is likely to suffer. 


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