University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued a fresh set of guidelines regarding the reopening and subsequent functioning of colleges and universities across the country.
Based on the recommendations of an Expert Committee, UGC has notified that the Academic Session 2020-21 will commence from August 1 for old students and from September 1 for new students. The admissions for the new session will be conducted in the month of August.
All the educational institutions are presently shut due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide lockdown which was enforced to combat the outbreak.
Guidelines for Academic Session 2019-20, Examinations
As for the ongoing session that has been abruptly halted in the wake of COVID-19 spread, UGC stated that pending terminal and intermediate examinations will be conducted between July and August 2020.
According to the new guidelines, the intermediate semester students will be graded on the basis of internal assessment of the present and previous semesters while the examinations will be held for the terminal semester students in July.
However, intermediate semester students in states where the COVID-19 outbreak has normalized will have to appear for examinations in the month of July.
Besides, the higher education commission has also directed universities to adopt simplified modes of examinations and reduce the time from 3 hours to 2 hours.
"Universities may conduct Terminal/Intermediate Semester examinations in offline/online mode, as per their Ordinances/Rules and Regulations, observing the guidelines of "social distancing" and ensuring a fair opportunity to all students," said UGC.
"In case the COVID-19 situation does not appear to be normal, the grading could be composite of 50% marks on the basis of internal evaluation and the remaining 50% marks can be awarded on the basis of performance in the previous semester," it added.
Additional suggestions by UGC
In order to speed up things and avoid any sort of academic loss, UGC suggested that universities should follow a 6-day week pattern. It also advised developing virtual classrooms that are equipped with video conferencing facilities and then providing adequate training to the teaching staff to make use of the technology.
"Students should be given exposure to practical experiments through virtual laboratories or sharing of the recorded visuals of laboratory work," read the UGC guidelines.