UGC, the regulator for Higher Education, yesterday released suggestive academic calendar and guidelines for the new semester. University and college students across the country were anxiously waiting for a decision on semester examination and beginning of the new academic year. The UGC guideline has been prepared keeping in mind the protocols which need to be followed even after the lockdown lifts to ensure maximum safety.
Suggested Exam and Result Schedule
In this line, UGC has suggested that universities can continue teaching even semester students through online and other non-conventional modes till May 31. The examinations for terminal semester/year can be held between July 1 and July 15, while the intermediate semester/year exams can be held from July 16 to July 31.
For result declaration, the deadline is July 31 for terminal semester/year, and August 14 for intermediate semester/year.
Exam Duration, Methods, and Social Distancing
UGC has also advised institutes to complete the examination process in a shorter period of time in compliance with CBCS requirements as prescribed by UGC. Institutes can assess students using methods other than a term-end exam like MCQ/OMR based examination, Open Book Examination, Open Choices, assignment/presentation based assessment etc.
The duration of the examination can also be reduced from 3 hours to 2 hours. The duration of exam should be shortened only if the need arises and this should be done without compromising the quality. Shortening the exam duration can allow institutes to complete the exam process in multiple shifts on one day.
Universities are free to conduct exams online or offline, based on the infrastructure available to them and ensuring fair opportunity to all students.
While conducting examinations, UGC emphasises again and again, institutes must follow the protocols of ‘social distancing’.
Intermediate Semester/Year Examinations
For intermediate semester/year examinations, universities can conduct exams after a comprehensive assessment of their level of preparedness, residential status of the students, status of COVID-19 pandemic spread in different regions/state and other factors.
In case the situation is not normal in the view of COVID-19 crisis, grading can be composite of 50% marks on the basis of internal assessment and the remaining 50% marks can be awarded on the basis of performance in previous semester. Where marks for previous semester are not available, particularly in case of first year of annual pattern of examinations, 100% evaluation should be on the basis of internal marks.
If a student wishes to improve grades, they can appear in special exams for such subjects during next semester.
Carry Forward Scheme
The scheme of “Carry forward” (for the subjects in which the student has failed) will be allowed for the current academic year in the universities and every student will be promoted to next semester/year. However, such students may clear the examination for the course in which they have failed/ remained absent, whenever the examination is held next.
Students may be allowed to improve their grades by offering one more opportunity to appear for current semester course in succeeding semesters/ years or through supplementary examination.
UGC has also asked universities to inform students well in advance about the conduct of examinations and other related activities.
The period of lockdown may be treated as ‘deemed to be attended’ by all the students/research scholars.
Project, Dissertation, Viva-Voce
For UG/PG students pursuing Projects/Dissertations, universities can assign them review-based/secondary data-based projects or software-driven projects, instead of laboratory-based experiments or field/ survey-based assignments.
Viva-Voce and practical examinations can be held through Skype and other meeting apps. In case of intermediate semesters, the practical examinations may be conducted during the ensuing semesters.