To ensure proper changes and the smooth flow of university proceedings, the University Grants Commission or UGC which is the regulator of higher education, has released new guidelines for the examinations to be conducted as well as the academic calendar. This decision has been taken in light of all colleges and universities being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thus leading to the cancellation of all examinations.
The new academic semester for old students will start from August 1st as per the latest
guidelines released by the UGC, while for the new students it will be September 1, 2020. The admissions for the 2020-21 session will take effect from 1 to 31 August.
Due to the closing of all universities all over the country, there has been great uncertainty regarding the opening of these institutions due to the nationwide lockdown. The UGC has stated that the college sessions should commence in August for existing students, and September for new ones, according to the guidance issued today.
The commission said the intermediate semester students would be assessed based on the internal review of the present and preceding semester while the exams for the students of the terminal semester will be conducted in July. There will be exams in the month of July for intermediate-semester students in states where the COVID-19 situation has stabilized.
Given the present circumstance and potential uncertainty, higher education entities are often granted the ability to adapt and enforce these recommendations by making changes, additions, or modifications to resolve unique circumstances in the best interests of students, educational institutions, and the whole education system.
With respect to the pending exams, the Commission has also indicated that the universities should follow alternate and simpler test modes and methods to complete the cycle in a shorter timeframe. It also said the universities might follow effective and creative test styles by reducing the duration from 3 hours to 2 hours.
The Commission has authorized the M.Phil to expand the duration by six months. Or graduate students and colleges have been advised they should perform the PhD and M. Phil: Phil. Viva-Speech video conferencing assessments use Twitter, Skype, Microsoft Applications, or some other effective and mutually convenient application.
“Modify according to requirements”
According to the guidelines, universities should pursue a 6-day week schedule and, considering the present scenario and potential uncertainty, the Commission has added that they should adopt or modify and enforce the proposed guidelines in a straightforward manner by making adjustments or improvements or modifications or amendments to cope with different circumstances in the best interest of students, educational institutions and the entire education system.
In addition to these guidelines, the UGC set up an advisory committee to discuss and make suggestions on matters relating to the exams and the academic calendar in order to prevent academic disruptions and to take effective steps for the students’ future.
The Expert Committee was chaired along with other representatives by Prof. R. C. Kuhad,
Former Director, UGC, and Vice-Chancellor, Haryana Central University, Mahendergarh,
“A new path”
These guidelines seek to bring back some form of normalcy once the universities, colleges, and other higher educational institutions open in the post-lockdown period. However, with the new calendar in place as well as the rescheduling of examinations, the entire landscape is subject to change. Further, the uncertainty regarding the Class XII CBSE Board Examinations which are yet to be conducted, it is possible these dates are further pushed back due to the university requirements.