New Delhi: The Modi government is working on a contingency plan for the higher education sector as the academic calendar has been disrupted because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The plan, which is likely to be announced after 14 April, will include an alternate academic calendar, ways to conduct exams for colleges and universities, a new schedule for vacations and announcement of results.
Apart from this, the plan will also include suggestions to improve the career prospects of students.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) had on 6 April constituted a seven-member committee to look into a contingency plan.
The committee is headed by the vice-chancellor of the Central University of Haryana, R.C. Kuhad. Other members include the vice-chancellors of Banasthali Vidyapith, Panjab University and the Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya, the director of Inter University Accelerator Centre and two joint secretaries of the UGC.
“We have an unforeseen situation at hand and no one knows when colleges and universities can re-open, which is why there is a need to have a contingency plan. A committee has been constituted to look into all the aspects of higher education,” UGC secretary Rajnish Jain told ThePrint.
“It will look at several issues, including an alternate academic calendar, possibility of conducting exams during the current scenario and announcement of results. The members of the committee are highly experienced academicians and we are sure they will be able to come up with the best solution for all the issues.”
Committee combing through UGC rules
The secretary said that the committee is looking at the existing options, like going through various rules and statutes of UGC and how they can be applied to the current scenario.
“Our immediate concern is conducting examinations on time and starting the new academic session, so that students are not at loss,” he said. “The committee is looking for ways in which this can be done by going through the existing rules and regulations of UGC.
“Apart from that, the mandate is also to look at the career and internship prospects for students because the lockdown will have a likely effect on that as well,” he added.
The likely effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on career prospects is evident, with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) bracing themselves for withdrawal of job offers after a US-based research firm rescinded its offers last week.
A report will be submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource Development on 13 April suggesting various ways the government can tide over the crisis and a plan is likely to be announced after that.
Exams in universities and colleges that were scheduled post 24 March had to be postponed because of the 21-day lockdown announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Usually, March-April is the time for examinations in most higher education institutions and some of them also complete the last bit of syllabus during this period.