The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released a new academic calendar for the students for the previous academic session. The new academic session is slated to start from August 1, 2020 for the old students and for the newly admitted students it will start from September 1, 2020. The admission session for different courses for the academic year 2020- 21 will commence between August 1 and 31, 2020.
The intermediate and terminal exams that are still pending will be conducted between July and August 2020. Owing to lockdown caused due to COVID- 19 pandemic, the UGC has released new guidelines regarding examinations that will take place and the new calendar would be implemented by the Colleges & Universities.
It has been recommended by the UGC officials that the Universities will be asked to adopt simplified and alternative methods & modes of exams in a shorter time than earlier. For example, it has been recommended that the duration of exams could be reduced from three hours to two hours. This would offer flexibility in both offline and online examinations. The guidelines that the officials from the UGC have issued are suggestive in nature. The Universities are allowed to make adjustments according to their requirements and as the situation demands.
The guidelines that the UGC has issued are based on the recommendations of two expert committees. The guidelines also suggest that the Universities could choose to follow a pattern of six- days a week, launch virtual classrooms which consist of the facilities of video- conferencing, and the teaching as well as supporting staff should learn how to use this technology. The teachers should come up with e-lab experiments and e-contents which should be uploaded on the official website of colleges and Universities. The faculties should learn how to use the online learning tools and ICTs. This will enable them to complete about 25% of the entire syllabus in this way.
The UGC has also suggested that this lockdown period will be treated as deemed to be attended by all the admitted students. PhD and M-Phil students may be granted an extension period of six months.
As the current scenario seems hard and the future remains uncertain, the Higher Educational Institutes have been given the flexibility to adopt as well as adapt and implement the guidelines by doing additional modifications, amendments, alterations or something similar so that to deal with the ongoing situation. This step by UGC has been issued keeping in mind the best interests of students, affiliated institutes as well as the entire education system.
Among its guidelines, the UGC has suggested two calendars:
- For 2019- 20: It includes that portion of different courses that remains incomplete as the outbreak of Novel Corona virus had taken place and afterwards lockdown was imposed everywhere in the country.
- For 2020- 21: It includes a new academic calendar for which the students will be seeking admission.
Until May 31, 2020, the teaching through the old academic calendar will continue to take place with the help of any of these: video conferencing, emails, distance learning, phone calls, Google Meets, Social media and other similar options. Other similar activities such as submission of projects, internal assessments, placement drives among others will be taking place between June 1 and June 15, 2020. The exams of different courses are planned to be held between July 1 and July 31, 2020. For terminal exams, the results would be out on July 31, 2020. For the intermediate exams, the results will be declared on August 14, 2020.
For the academic session of 2020- 21, the first year admission process would be taking place in the month of August. The classes for these newly admitted students will start from September 1, 2020. For old students, the classes will start from August 1, 2020.
The UGC has also issued this advisory that in case the situation does not seem to appear normal due to COVID- 19 issue, the universities are allowed to grade students on the basis of internal evaluation patterns as the Universities usually follow. 50% marks can be assessed based on the internal assessment and the remaining 50% can be granted on the basis of the performance of a student in the previous semester (if available). Usually the internal assessment consists of mid- semester, prelims or similar exams on the college level. If the marks of previous semester are available, then the colleges can even go for 100% assessment on the basis of internal evaluation of the students. In this situation, the students will also be given an option to improve their grades while appearing for special exams during the next semester.
The academic calendar for the 2020- 21 as issued by the UGC is as follows:
This calendar is suggestive in nature. The Universities are allowed to adopt or adapt to it on the basis of their level of preparedness, enrolled students’ residential status, status of the Corona virus pandemic in their respective areas and other similar factors.
|1.||Process of Admission||August 1 to 31, 2020|
|2.||Classes commencement (for students of 2nd & 3rd year and those of fresh batches – first year or first semester)||August 1, 2020|
September 1, 2020
|3.||Exam conduction||January 1, 2021 to January 25, 2121|
|4.||Commencement of classes for those in even semester||January 27, 2021|
|5.||Dispersal of Class||May 25, 2021|
|6.||Exam conduction||May 26 to June 25, 2021|
|7.||Summer Vacations||July 1 to July 31, 2021|
|8.||Start of next academic session||August 2, 2021|
Few of the important highlighted guidelines that the UGC will follow are as follows:
- Universities are allowed to follow the six days a week pattern.
- With the help of virtual labs, students should be allowed to access practical assignments as well as experiments. Digital records should be made available for this purpose.
- The MHRD has provided the links of various educational portals so that students of different streams can benefit.
- Introduce video conferencing and virtual classroom facility. All the teachers have to be trained to use this facility.
- Universities need to come up with e-contents and e-lab materials and upload it on official websites.
- Mentor- mentee counselling should be introduced.
- Universities should start maintaining a proforma which records the travel and stay history of staff as well as students for the time when they were away from the University due to lockdown.
- Faculties should learn how to use Integrated Computer Learning (ICT) and other online teaching tools.