In the view of the COVID-19 Lockdown, University Grants Commission (UGC) have released New Sets of Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for Universities, dated 29th April 2020.
The guidelines introduced are based upon the recommendations of an experts committee constituted by UGC to deliberate on the vital issues of examinations and academic calendar.
The Expert Committee interacted with the authorities such as Vice-Chancellors of Universities, Principals of colleges and academia through online platforms and submitted its Report to the UGC.
Based on the recommendations, the following sets of guidelines have been introduced :
NOTE: The Guidelines are subjective in nature and universities or colleges can adjust as per their requirement and prevailing situations.
According to UGC, “Since Odd Semesters have ended and results being declared. Also, most institutes have already covered 60% to 70% of their syllabus before the lockdown (March 2020), and the remaining part of the curriculum to be completed through the online platforms. Based on this, A New Academic Calendar has been released.”
The UGC Guideline Notice stated that “The universities should develop a fool-proof plan before the resumption of session, strictly following the norms of “social distancing” and other required precautions, to avoid any eventuality arising due to COVID-19.”
UGC has suggested the following Academic Calendar for the academic session 2019-2020 :
# – If the situation so demands, the universities can have Summer Vacations for 30 days from 01-06-2020 to 30-06-2020. In such cases, according to UGC, the teaching-learning will hold up to 15-05-2020 & subsequently Finalization of Dissertation, etc. will complete from 16-05-2020 to 31-05-2020.
UGC has suggested the following Academic Calendar for the academic session 2020-2021 :
NOTE – (For Academic Year 2020-2021)
- Admissions to the UG and PG programmes for the session 2020-21 may be completed by 31.08.2020.
- If necessity arises, provisional admissions will also be made and relevant documents of qualifying examination may be accepted up to 30.09.2020.
- The Academic Session 2020-21 may commence from 01.8.2020 for old students and from 01.09.2020 for fresh students.
According to the guidelines, the University is to adopt alternative and and simplified modes and methods of examinations to maintain the sanctity of academic expectations and integrity of examination process.
This may include, MCQ/ OMR based examinations, Open Book Examination, Open Choices, assignment/ presentation-based assessments etc
According to the UGC Notice, Universities may adopt efficient and innovative modes of examinations by reducing the time from 3 hours to 2 hours assigned to each examination, if the need arises but without compromising the quality.
The universities may conduct Terminal / Intermediate Semester / Year examinations in offline/online mode, as per their Ordinances/ Rules and Regulations, Scheme of Examinations
An important point declared by UGC is,
“In case the situation does not appear to be normal in view of COVID-19, in order to maintain “social distancing”, safety and health of the students, grading of the students could be a
Composite of 50% marks on the basis of the pattern of internal evaluation adopted by the universities and the remaining 50% marks awarded on the basis of performance in the previous semester only (if available).”
“The internal evaluation can be Continuous evaluation, prelims, mid-semester, internal evaluation or whatever name assigned for students progression.”
“If the student wishes to improve the grades, he/she may appear in special exams for such subjects during next semester.”
Also, the minimum required percentage attendance may be treated as ‘deemed to be attended‘ for all students/research scholars, amid the period of lockdown.
Some General Guidelines
The General Guidelines released by UGC dated 29th April 2020 :
- Every University must follow a 6-Day Pattern to make up for the loss of the remaining sessions of 2019-2020 and new sessions of 2020-2021.
- In the view of “social distancing” & to ensure students safety, universities must provide exposure to students in terms of –
1) Laboratory Assignments / Practical Experiments through Virtual Laboratories
2) Sharing of the Recorded Visuals of Laboratory Work and digital resources available for the purpose
3) Links provided by the Ministry of Human Resource Development for virtual laboratories to facilitate the students of science/ engineering/ technology streams may be suitable for such purposes.
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- Every Institute must develop a virtual classroom & video conferencing facility and all teaching staffs must be trained with the use of such technology.
- Every University should prepare e-content / e-lab experiments & upload the same on their websites.
- The Universities may devise a proforma to record the Travel/ Stay history of the staff and students.
The Guideline report also suggests measures to be prepared for similar exigencies in the future.
It states “the faculty should be adequately trained for the use of ICT and online teaching tools, so that they complete about 25 per cent of the syllabus through online teaching and 75 per cent syllabus through face to face teaching.”