Classes From Aug, No 1st or 2nd Yr Exams if Things Not Normal: UGC

Final-year exams in July, other semester exams only if situation normal: UGC advises universities.

3 min read
Image used for representational purposes.

Universities in India may begin their new academic session in August and could replace intermediate semester examinations with internal modes of assessment, the University Grants Commission (UGC) said in an advisory on Wednesday, 29 April.

According to a circular issued by the nodal body, universities may begin the 2020-21 academic session from 1 August 2020 for old students and from 1 September, 2020 for the fresh batch that will come in this year. This means that while students being promoted to the second and third year can begin their classes as early as August, those seeking fresh admissions can begin their first year classes in September.

The UGC issued these advisories following a detailed report from two committees formed under it. While one committee worked on alternative calendar, the other was tasked with ways to conduct exams. 

The suggestion of a delayed academic session will come as a relief to several students who are yet to clear their class 12 board exams – among them are lakhs of CBSE class 12 students who have quite a few subjects pending. Many others from state boards have had their exams completed, but are waiting for evaluation of scripts to resume or start, in the first place.

What About Semester and Final-Year Exams?

According to the circular, terminal semester examinations (popularly referred to as final year examinations) will be held in the month of July. Intermediate semester exams, which simply means exams between two semesters, will be held in July for states in which the COVID-19 situation has normalised. However, it is not clear as to how the UGC plans to define the situation in any state as ‘normalised.’

However, only in the case of of intermediate semester exams, the UGC says “if the situation does not appear to be normal in view of COVID-19”, exams can be cancelled and students can be assessed on the basis of internal assessment.

  • 50 percent marks on the basis of pattern of of internal evaluation
  • 50 percent marks to performance in previous semester, if any

Internal assessment can include continuous evaluation, prelims, mid-semester, internal evaluation or whatever name is given for student “progression.”

Wherever is it possible to conduct exams, either final year or between semesters, the circular provides universities with the option of conducing them either online or offline, according to their rules and regulations.

However, in doing so, the UGC advises varsities to strictly observe social distancing guidelines and to also ensure that adequate support system that allows for fair exams.

This could mean that universities, if they decide to conduct online or offline exams, must me mindful of whether students are able to access transport to reach exam centres or in case of online exams, students are able to access the internet. It also said that an extension of six months should be granted to MPhil and PhD students.

Other Key Highlights

  • The circular further states that if the situation so demands, universities may declare a 30-day summer holiday from 1 to 30 June, 2020.
  • Universities may follow a six day week pattern.
  • Exposure to lab & practical assignments through virtual laboratories for students.
  • Develop virtual classroom & video conferencing facility & train all teaching staff for the same.
  • Focus on preparing E-content, strengthen mentor-mentee counselling mechanism.
  • Generate proforma for travel history of staff and students.
  • COVID-19 cell in every university to address problems associated with academic calendar and exams.

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