NEW DELHI: 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 brand new ones.
According to the norms which UGC said were suggestions, the much-awaited admissions for the 2020-21 session is going to 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 is going to 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 every single 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 in order that they complete about 25% of the syllabus through online teaching.
For the matters associated with the examination, the UGC allowed the schools to chart out their own plan of action but suggested grading intermediate semester students on internal assessment of this and former semesters.
In states where the COVID-19 situation has normalized, there'll be exams in July, the UGC recommended.
The UGC-issued guidelines were based on recommendations made by an expert committee to deliberate on issues associated with exams and therefore 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 rules , universities may adopt alternative and simplified modes and methods of examinations to finish the procedure 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 rules of "social distancing" and keeping in sight the support system available with them and ensuring a good opportunity to every student," the UGC statement said.
For the terminal semester or year examinations, the exams are going to be held in July. "The terminal semester or year examination for postgraduate, undergraduate courses, programmes could also be conducted by universities as suggested within the academic calendar. The timing of the examination may be considered appropriately by the institutes, and examination could also be conducted keeping in mind the rules of social distancing," UGC said.
"For intermediate semester or year students, the schools may conduct examinations, after making a comprehensive assessment of their level of preparedness, residential status of the wards, status of COVID-19 pandemic spread in numerous regions or state and other factors," it added.
Elaborating on the grading system based on internal assessments, the UGC said that grading of the kids can be a composite of 50 marks on the basis of the pattern of internal evaluation adopted by the schools and therefore 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 aren't available, particularly in the first year of the annual pattern of examinations, 100% evaluation could also be done on the basis of internal assessments," UGC said.
It added that the scholars who wish to enhance their grades can appear in special exams for such subjects during the following semester.
The Commission has also allowed an extension of six months' period to the M.Phil. or PhD students and told the colleges that they'll conduct the PhD and M. Phil. Viva-Voce examinations through video conferencing using Google, Skype, Microsoft Technologies or the other reliable and mutually convenient technology can be used.
"The universities also are advised to determine a cell for handling student grievances associated with examinations and academic activities during COVID-19 pandemic and notify effectively to the pupils. The UGC also will establish a helpline for monitoring student grievances associated with examinations and academic activities during COVID-19 pandemic," it said.