The committees formed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) have recommended a delayed start to the new session.
With educational institutions continuing to remain closed, alternatives are being considered to the normal classes, examinations and admissions are being considered with the possibility of shifting on an online medium. While the committees formed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) are yet to conclude examinations, they have recommended that the new session come to a delayed start for the session 2020-2021.
The two committees formed by the UGC and the MHRD are to look into the issues of loss of classes and conducting classes online. One of these committees that is led by Haryana University Vice-Chancellor RC Kuhad, works on assessing the possibility of online examinations and a new academic calendar to work around and take into consideration the disruptions due to the COIVD-19 pandemic and lockdown. The other is led by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) V-C Nageshwar Rao and was formed to suggest means to improve online education. Both committees have submitted their reports and a source told the Press Trust of India (PTI): “One panel has recommended that the academic session be started from September than July. The second panel has suggested that universities should conduct online exams if they have the infrastructure and means or wait for the lockdown to get over and then decide a date for pen-and-paper examinations”.
Plans to conduct online examinations have already been met with resistance Delhi University (DU) Executive Council member, Rajesh Jha calling the proposals a “complete mockery of higher education” and Deans of several University departments were said to have termed this form of examination “practically impossible” and “not feasible”. Students and Teachers have also raised concerns and cite technical issues, impracticality and a lack of universal internet access as a stumbling block. The DU online portal for filling up of examination forms has also been unstable and prone to crashing.
However, DUTA has refused to comment on the issue until an official notice is released by UGC.
“I think that starting the new semester in September does have its benefits when it comes to the safety aspect of things. Starting the semester later would cut down a lot of the risk of transmission of COVID. Secondly, with the disruption the pandemic has brought out, maybe a delayed semester would be a good idea to bring things back on track without needlessly rushing exams and the admission procedure” said Prabhanu, a student of Kirori Mal College, Delhi University.
According to officials from the MHRD, the two reports will now be studied and an official announcement would be made soon with guidelines and recommendations.”It is not binding that all the recommendations will be accepted. After deliberating on the feasibility issues and keeping the situation in mind, guidelines will be issued,” said an official. An official from the UGC stated, “The reports are not binding in nature and a mere suggestion to the universities. The recommendations include conducting online exams wherever possible. If a university has the means, including the infrastructure to conduct online exams, they should go ahead with it” speaking of the possibility of online exams. With the status of examinations still shrouded in uncertainty, the possibility of a delayed start to the session may be explored.
Feature Picture Credit: DU Beat Archives
Tashi Dorjay Sherpa