Coronavirus: UGC issues guidelines for new academic year


Students can be graded based on their performance in internal assessment tests and the previous semester, the University Grants Commission (UGC) said on Wednesday, in one of many suggestions aimed at keeping the academic schedule on track in the aftermath of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

The higher education regulator also said examinations in colleges and universities can be held in May and June with July being the month of summer vacations. The next academic cycle can begin in August for second- and third-year students and in September for freshers, it said.

Generally, academic sessions end in colleges and universities in May-June and new sessions begin in July-August. Education institutes have been shut down across India since March 25, when a nationwide lockdown was imposed to stop the spread of Covid-19.

In guidelines issued on Wednesday after long deliberations, UGC said if the previous semester’s result is not available, particularly in the first year, 100% evaluation of students may be done on the basis of internal assessments.

The internal evaluation process can be continuous, mid-semester or it can be any method that gauges a student’s progression, UGC said, adding that the guidelines are “advisory” in nature and an individual institute will have to chart its own course based on its circumstances.

Universities may also adopt efficient and innovative modes of examinations by reducing the time from three hours to two hours, it said. But students should be informed well in advance (at least one week before) about the conduct of examinations and other related activities.

The regulator, however, said students who want to improve their grades should be allowed another opportunity whenever circumstances allow. It said there should be a grievance redressal mechanism set up by universities. UGC will establish a help line for monitoring grievances.

Universities, colleges and schools across the country have been closed and exams postponed since March 16 when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as one of the measures to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.A nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25, and it was later extended till May 3.

Where it is difficult to hold exams, universities can give 50% weightage to internal evaluation and the remaining 50% to the performance in the previous semester, the UGC guidelines said. The period of lockdown will be treated as “deemed to be attended” by all students.

The universities may conduct practical examinations and viva voice examinations through Skype or other apps. In some cases, practical examinations may be conducted during ensuing semesters, the guidelines suggested. UGC also suggested giving a six-month extension to M.Phil and PhD students.

Universities will follow a six-day-week schedule. Students will be given exposure to laboratory assignments or practical experiments through virtual laboratories.

UGC has also recommended that universities should prepare e-content/e-lab experiments and upload the same on their websites. They have also been asked to strengthen the mechanism of mentor-mentee counselling. They should also develop virtual classroom and video conferencing facility, and all teaching staff should be trained with the use of the technology.


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