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UGC issues guidelines on new academic year

April 30, 2020

College students across the country can now breathe a sigh of relief. Over the past month, they have been battling the uncertainty in regard to their studies due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The University Grant Commission (UGC) has issued a new calendar for the universities. The new academic year 2020-2021 will commence from August 1 for old students and for the new batch, it will start from September 1, 2020. The admissions for the new session will be conducted between August 1 and August 30. The pending examinations are to be conducted between July and August 2020.

The UGC guidelines recommend that universities may adopt other simplified methods in the best interest of students, educational institutions and the entire education system. They may conduct examinations and offer flexibility for both online and offline examinations and may also reduce the duration of examinations from three hours to two hours. In case the situation does not improve, the UGC suggested that the universities may grade students 50 per cent mark on the basis of internal evaluation and remaining 50 per cent marks can be based on the performance of the students in the earlier semester. If the previous semester or previous year marks are not available, the educational institutions can evaluate 100 per cent marks based on the internal evaluation. The universities may also devise a method to record history of travel and stay of its staff and students while they were away from the universities during the lockdown. 

All students will receive automatic attendance during the lockdown period. The UGC has also recommended that the universities may follow a six-day week format and train the teaching faculty to conduct online classes via video conferencing facility. They should be trained to conduct virtual classes and prepare online study material for the students so that they can complete 25 per cent of the syllabus through online classes. The e-lab experiments and other content can be uploaded on the website of the colleges and universities. Teaching will also be continued online for the old academic year. Dissertations, project work, internship reports, assignments, internal assessments and other activities will be held between June 1 and June 15, 2020. The examinations will be conducted between July 1 and July 31, 2020 and the results for terminal examinations will be declared on July 31, 2020. The results for intermediate examinations will be out on August 14, 2020. An extension of six months will be provided to MPhil and PhD students.  The universities may conduct the practical examinations and viva-voce through video conferences.  

The universities can make adjustments to the academic year suggested by the UGC based on the prevailing condition due to COVID-19 in their region, their preparedness and requirements. The guidelines were issued based on the reports by two expert committees.     

Educational institutions have been shut since March 16, 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak and examinations and other activities were suspended after the national lockdown was announced on March 25. 

Akhila Damodaran

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