The final semester examinations for undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) courses began on the digital mode in state universities of West Bengal on Thursday with the authorities saying it was going on smoothly. The exams for 104 subjects under 152 colleges at the undergraduate level of Calcutta University started at 10 am with candidates answering papers from their home, Vice-Chancellor Sonali Chakraborty Banerjee told PTI.
The tests, of a two-hour duration, kicked off in three different time slots from 10 am, 12 noon and 2 pm and the students were given the questions 15 minutes before the exams began, she explained.
Each candidate was given another half an hour to mail the answers in pdf attachment to the college authorities, she said.
At the postgraduate level, examinations for 68 subjects were taking place similarly as candidates were answering papers from home in view of the COVID-19 situation.
"The virtual mode exams are being held smoothly and we haven't received any complaint from college authorities," the VC said.
However, two-three undergraduate students claimed that the alloted time was too short for answering the paper, carrying 100 marks.
Another CU official said, a multiple-choice format mode was mostly followed in setting the questions and the time limit was set after due consideration.
There are 1.5 lakh students, comprising both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, in Calcutta University.
In Jadavpur University, exams began in both Arts and Science faculties on a digital mode following all UGC guidelines, Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das said.
A Jadavpur university professor said, around 1,800 students in the arts stream and 1,200 students in the science faculty were writing their papers in two time slots - 11.30 am to 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm.
The exams will continue till October 8, he said.
"There have been stray reports about few students not getting the questions but it was found that they had typed wrong mail ids and once they corrected it, they received the questions soon afterwards," the professor said.
VC of North Bengal University Subiresh Bhattacharya said, UG exams of a two-hour duration were conducted on virtual mode under 50 affiliated colleges.
"While candidates mostly mailed answer sheets with attachment, a few submitted hard copy of their sheets in sealed cover, 30 minutes after the exams were over, to the designated collection centre of the college," he said.
Education Minister Partha Chatterjee had on Tuesday asked power utilities, Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) and West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL), to ensure that there was no disruption of power supply during the exams.
The higher education department had asked universities to conduct final semester exams between October 1 to 18 after UGC consented to the state's proposal in this regard.
The UGC had asked state universities to wrap up final semester exams by September 30 but gave its nod to West Bengal's request to allow exams from October 1 on digital mode.
The Supreme Court in an order last month had given a go ahead to UGC to complete the process by September 30.
The apex court had also observed that if any state had a problem in conducting final semester exams by then, it had to take up the issue with UGC for fixing up a later date but complete the exam process nevertheless.
(With Inputs from PTI)