THE University Grants Commission (UGC) yesterday released examination and academic calendar for the Universities in View of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown.
The new academic session for the enrolled students will commence from August 1 while for the new students it will be September 1, 2020. This means that while students being promoted to the second and third year can begin their classes as early as August, those seeking fresh admissions can begin their first-year classes in September.
Semester and final year exams
According to UGC guidelines, intermediate semester students will be graded based on an internal assessment of the present and previous semester. In states where the COVID-19 situation has normalized, there will be exams in the month of July. Further, for terminal semesters students, exams will be held in the month of July.
Universities may adopt alternative and simplified modes and methods of examinations to complete the process in a shorter period of time. They may conduct Terminal / Intermediate Semester / Year examinations in offline / online mode, as per their Ordinances/Rules and Regulations, Scheme of Examinations, observing the guidelines of “social distancing” and keeping in view the support system available with them and ensuring a fair opportunity to all students.
For intermediate semester/year students, the universities may conduct examinations, after making a comprehensive assessment of their level of preparedness, residential status of the students, status of COVID-19 pandemic spread in different regions / state and other factors.
According to guidelines, the period of lockdown may be treated as ‘deemed to be attended’ by all the students/ research scholars. Further, UGC has advised universities to adopt appropriate strategies to facilitate the UG/ PG students pursuing Projects/ Dissertations. Universities may consider assigning review-based/ secondary databased projects or software-driven projects, instead of laboratory-based experiments or field/ survey-based assignments to these students.
Project, dissertation, viva-voce
As per the UGC guidelines, the universities may conduct the practical examinations and Viva-Voce Examinations through Skype or other meeting apps, and in case of intermediate semesters, the practical examinations may be conducted during the ensuing semesters.
The universities may conduct the Ph.D. and M. Phil. Viva -Voce Examinations through Video Conferencing using Google, Skype, Microsoft Technologies or any other reliable and mutually convenient technology.
Extension of six months period to the M.Phil.or Ph.D. students.
UGC has asked that every University shall establish a cell for handling student grievances related to examinations and academic activities during COVID-19 pandemic and notify effectively to the students. Further, UGC will establish a Help Line for monitoring student grievances related to examinations and academic activities during COVID-19 pandemic.
Some General Guidelines
Universities may follow a 6-day week pattern.
Students be given exposure to laboratory assignments/ practical experiments through virtual laboratories, sharing of the recorded visuals of laboratory work and digital resources available for the purpose.
The link provided by MHRD for virtual laboratories to facilitate the students of science/ engineering/ technology streams may also be suitable for such purposes.
Develop virtual classroom and video conferencing facility and all teaching staff should be trained with the use of the technology.
Universities should prepare e-content/e-lab experiments and upload on their websites.
Strengthen the mechanism of mentor-mentee counselling.
Universities may devise a proforma to record the Travel/ Stay history of the staff and students for the period when they were away from the university due to lockdown.
Faculty should be adequately trained for the use of ICT and online teaching tools, so that they complete about 25% of the syllabus through online teaching and 75% syllabus through face-to-face teaching.
UGC has made it clear that its guidelines are advisory in nature. University may chart out its own plan of action taking into consideration the issues pertaining to COVID – 19 Pandemic and ensuring social distancing.
In view of Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, the UGC constituted an Expert Committee to deliberate and make recommendations on the issues related to the Examinations and the Academic Calendar to avoid academic loss and take appropriate measures for the future of students.
Prof. R. C. Kuhad, Former Member, UGC and Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Haryana, Mahendergarh, Haryana headed the Expert Committee along with other members.
The Commission at its meeting held on 27.4.2020 accepted the Report of the Committee and approved the Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar.