Monday, 27 April 2020

UGC panel wants all colleges to start in September

The new academic year for universities and colleges can start from September instead of July in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, a panel appointed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) has said. Another panel has recommended conducting online exams wherever possible. If the recommendations are implemented, students may not have winter holidays next academic year, and colleges may have to work on Saturdays and holidays to compensate for the lost working days.

One of the committees led by Haryana University vicechancellor R C Kuhad was formed to look into ways of conducting exams in universities amid the lockdown and work on an alternative academic calendar. The second committee, set up to suggest measures to improve online education, was led by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) V-C Nageshwar Rao. Both the panels submitted their reports on Friday and the ministry of human resources development is likely to issue a notification next week after studying the reports.

Final year exams may be conducted soon after lockdown ends

P Duraisamy, vice-chancellor, University of Madras, said, “We can make it up by working on Saturdays and winter vacation. Usually, semester exams would be conducted in November, and in December there would be winter vacation. By working during the winter holidays, we can achieve mandatory 90 working days per semester.”

The expert committee also proposed to conduct online test for end-semester exams. “Except Delhi University, all other universities expressed concerns about conducting online test for end-semester exams. It is difficult to conduct online exams as all students may not be take them,” said the VC who was one of the special invitees to the UGC’s expert panel to improve online education.

After the lockdown, exams can be conducted immediately for final-year students. “Once the colleges are reopened, we canconduct the exams and publish results in 30 to 40 days. For the first-year and second-year students, exams would be conducted leisurely and evaluation can be done during weekends,” he added. An official from the Anna University also ruled out conducting online exams saying all students may not have access to internet. “Any delay in conducting exams will affect
final-year students. If the exams are held in July, we will be able to declare the results by the end of August and they can begin postgraduate admissions in September,” Thomas Amirtham, principal, Loyola College, said, adding that winter vacation would be cut short to enhance the working days. “If we work on Saturdays and winter holidays, the academic year can still be finished in May,” he said.

Colleges and universities also need to complement classroom coaching with online classes. K Maran, director of Sairam Engineering College, said the delay of academic year or change in exam schedule will not affect students. “If a disaster strikes a state or a country, then it would affect the higher education prospects or job prospects of students. But since the effect has been global, everything would be delayed,” he said.



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