Start college session in September, UGC advises

The 2020-21 academic session will be delayed by one-and-a-half months for students entering higher education this year.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) released an indicative academic calendar for higher education institutions Wednesday that suggested classes for first-year students can start by September 1 and for intermediate year students on August 1. It also indicated that the admission process for fresh batches of students should be conducted in August.

For the graduating batch, as first reported by The Indian Express on April 26, universities and colleges have been advised to hold their final year or terminal semester examination from July 1 to July 15 and declare their results end of the month.

For intermediate (read 2nd or 3rd year) students, higher education institutions can hold their semester or year-end examination from July 16 to July 30 and announce results by August 14. June, as advised by UGC, can be treated as summer vacation.

Aside from making changes to the suggested academic calendar, universities and colleges, the UGC clarified, are also free to conduct their examination in either offline or online mode and reduce the time from three to two hours. However, the examination should be held “observing the guidelines of ‘social distancing’ and keeping in view the support system available with them and ensuring fair opportunity to all students”, the UGC guidelines stated.

In case higher education institutions are unable to conduct term-end exams because of the Covid-19 outbreak, they have been advised to promote students by giving 50 per cent weightage to internal evaluation and the rest to “performance in the previous semester”.

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“In the situations where previous semester or previous year marks are not available, particularly in the first year of annual pattern of examinations, 100% evaluation may be done on the basis of internal assessments. If the student wishes to improve the grades, he/she may appear in special exams for such subjects during next semester,” the UGC guidelines state.

For research students, viva-voce examinations are expected to take place through video conferencing. All MPhil and PhD students will get an extension of six months. The lockdown period will be treated as “deemed to be attended” by all the students and research scholars.

The 2020-21 academic year may not have a winter break and follow six-day teaching week to make for the learning time lost due to the classroom shutdown.

Examination for the first semester of 2020-21 is likely to take place in January 2021 and for the second semester in May-June. The 2021-22 academic year is expected to start on August 2.

The UGC guidelines and proposed academic calendar are based on the suggestions of an expert committee led by RC Kuhad, head of Haryana Central University.

Courtesy: The Indian Express

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