New Delhi: Final-year students will have to take exams, whether offline or online, in July, while their juniors may be promoted on the basis of internal assessment, the University Grants Commission (UGC) told higher education institutions Wednesday.
The higher education regulator has issued fresh guidelines for colleges and universities on conducting exams and restarting sessions after the coronavirus lockdown ends.
While the guidelines lay down a broad advisory, the institutions will have the freedom to decide the finer details, as reported by ThePrint Tuesday.
For example, the UGC has left it to the universities to decide if they want students of the “intermediate semesters” — those not in the final year — to face final exams, while informing them that the students can be promoted on the basis of internal assessment.
The guidelines are based on the report submitted by an expert committee, led by Haryana Central University vice-chancellor Professor R.C. Kuhad, that was formed to chalk out a post-lockdown calendar for India’s higher-education institutions.
“The commission at its meeting held on 27 April accepted the report of the committee and approved the guidelines on examinations and academic calendar,” a press statement issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) said Wednesday.
Onus on universities
Schools and colleges across India were shut down mid-March as the government rallied to check the spread of coronavirus. For many colleges, this stalled the examination calendar, creating much uncertainty about the impact of the lockdown on the academic year.
The guidelines issued by the UGC suggest institutions may choose to conduct their final exams either online or offline, depending on the infrastructure they have and the severity of the pandemic in their areas.
If they choose to conduct offline exams, they add, the institutions should wait until July and take into account the severity of coronavirus in the area. In states where the Covid-19 situation has normalised, exams will be held in July.
“Universities may conduct terminal/intermediate semester/year examinations in offline/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 guidelines read.
The commission has also asked every university to set up a Covid-19 cell, which students can consult for queries about the academic calendar and examinations.
Among other things, the guidelines suggest reducing the duration of exams from three hours to two hours.
For conducting practicals and viva exams, the commission has suggested the use of video-conferencing portals such as Skype. “In case of intermediate semesters, the practical examinations may be conducted during the ensuing semesters,” the guidelines add.
New academic session
The UGC has suggested that colleges and universities resume classes between August and September. The session should start in September for freshers, and August for others.
It has also advised universities to go for a six-day week, in order to make up for lost time. As reported by ThePrint earlier, the UGC panel has suggested that holidays be reduced to a minimum for the same reason, and the winter break scrapped for academic session 2020-21.
For the current academic year, the UGC has suggested a summer break between 1 June and 30 June. The commission has also suggested that institutions adopt certain social-distancing norms before they reopen, in keeping with the panel’s recommendations.