New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) In a set of guidelines issued on Wednesday, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has recommended that college sessions should begin in August for current students and in September for new ones.
According to the guidelines which UGC said were suggestions, the much-awaited admissions for the 2020-21 session will be conducted between August 1 to August 31. “Universities may follow a six-day week pattern and devise a pro forma to record travel or stay history of staff and students for the lockdown period.
“Extension of six months will be granted to MPhil, PhD students and viva-voice would be conducted through video conference,” UGC’s guidelines said.
The guidelines also stated that universities develop virtual classrooms and video conferencing facility and all teaching staff should be trained with the use of the technology, prepare e-content/ e-lab experiments and upload on their websites, and 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.
For the matters related to examination, the UGC allowed the universities to chart out their own plan of action, but suggested grading intermediate semester students on internal assessment of the present and previous semesters.
In states where the COVID-19 situation has normalized, there will be exams in July, the UGC recommended.
The UGC-issued guidelines were based on recommendations made by an expert committee to deliberate on issues related to exams and the academic calendar and take appropriate measures for the future of students.
The expert committee was headed by Prof. R.C. Kuhad, Former Member, UGC and Vice Chancellor, Central University of Haryana, Mahendergarh, Haryana along with other members.
According to the guidelines, universities may adopt alternative and simplified modes and methods of examinations to complete the process in a shorter period of time .
“Universities may adopt efficient and innovative modes of examinations by reducing the time from 3 hours to 2 hours. Universities may conduct terminal or intermediate semester or yearly examinations in offline or 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 fair opportunity to all students,” the UGC statement said.
For the terminal semester or year examinations, the exams will be held in July. “The terminal semester or year examination for postgraduate, undergraduate courses, programmes may be conducted by universities as suggested in the academic calendar. The timing of the examination may be considered appropriately by the universities, and examination may be conducted keeping in mind the guidelines of social distancing,” UGC said.
“For intermediate semester or 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 or state and other factors,” it added.
Elaborating on the grading system based on internal assessments, the UGC said that grading of the students could be a composite of 50% marks on the basis of the pattern of internal evaluation adopted by the universities and the remaining 50% marks can be awarded on the basis of performance in previous semester only (if available).
“In situations where previous semester or previous year marks are not available, particularly in the first year of the annual pattern of examinations, 100% evaluation may be done on the basis of internal assessments,” UGC said.
It added that the students who wish to improve their grades, can appear in special exams for such subjects during the next semester.
The Commission has also allowed extension of six months’ period to the M.Phil. or Ph.D. students and told the universities that they 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 can be used.
“The universities are also advised to establish a cell for handling student grievances related to examinations and academic activities during COVID-19 pandemic and notify effectively to the students. The UGC will also establish a helpline for monitoring student grievances related to examinations and cademic activities during COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.