With more than 20,000 engineering students with job offers anxiously waiting to start their careers, Anna University has decided to conduct end-semester exams for final year students as online proctoring tests by the end of this month. Anna University is the first state university to decide to conduct online exams amid the Covid-19 crisis. Students without digital devices and internet connectivity will be given a choice to take offline exams later. The final exams are crucial as they would help validate degrees and aid in early on-boarding of recruited students.

The one-hour proctoring test will be conducting separately for each subject, will have multiple choice questions and candidates will be monitored by artificial intelligence tools, which records physical movements of students, computer screen usage and audio to prevent malpractice. The university has floated a tender inviting bids for conducting the test, estimated to cost Rs 1.9 crore, for students from affiliated colleges and university departments.

“We decided to conduct the online exam to protect the future of students. It will make their degrees credible and facilitate their early on-boarding and higher studies,” said M K Surappa, vice-chancellor of the university.

Due to the loss of working days, some portions could not be taught and the university has decided to drop one of five units in each subject for the final exams. “We will give a 30% weightage for the online test and 70% weightage for internal assessment and project work,” Surappa added.

When inquired, autonomous colleges said they are also thinking of conducting an online test for final year students. The University Grants Commission (UGC) had instructed all universities to conduct exams online or offline for final year students, a move challenged in the Supreme Court. Academicians, however, said graduates of professional courses like BE, B.Tech need some form of assessment before graduation.

The state government promoted all except final year students to next year without exams and wrote to the ministry of human resource development to cancel exams for final year students as well, but it is yet to get a response.

Meanwhile, K M Karthik, president of Private Educational Institutions Employees Association, said the university collected fees for the cancelled exams and insisted that it must not collect fee for next sem exams. University officials, however, said the state government approved exam fee collection

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