UGC released a notice regarding Examination and Academic calendar. As we know all universities are closed due to pandemic COVID-19. So, on 29/04/2020 UGC released a notification regarding Universities examination and academic calendar.
In which UGC, asks universities to maintain the sanctity of academic expectations and integrity of examination process. According to UGC, Universities can adopt alternative and simplified modes and method of eximinations to complete the process.


Guidelines


Based on the recommendations of the Expert Committee, the following Guidelines have been framed for the Examinations and the Academic Calendar in the Universities. The guidelines are advisory in nature and each university may chart out its own plan of action taking into consideration the issues pertaining to COVID – 19 Pandemic.

 

EXAMINATIONS

 

1. Maintaining the sanctity of academic expectations and integrity of examination process, the universities may adopt alternative and simplified modes and methods of examinations to complete the process in shorter period of time in compliance with CBCS requirements as prescribed by UGC from time to time. These may include MCQ/ OMR based examinations, Open Book Examination, Open Choices, assignment/ presentation-based assessments etc. 

2. The universities may adopt efficient and innovative modes of examinations by reducing the time from 3 hours to 2 hours assigned to each examination, if need arises but without compromising the quality, so that the process may be completed in multiple shifts and, at the same time, sanctity to evaluate the performance of a student is also maintained.

3. The universities may conduct Terminal / Intermediate Semester / Yearexaminations in offline / online mode, as per their Ordinances/ Rules and Regulations, Scheme of Examinations, observing the guidelines of “social distancing” and keeping in view the support system available with them and ensuring fair opportunity to all students.

4. Terminal semester / year examinations for PG/ UG courses/ programmes may be conducted by universities as suggested in the academic calendar keeping in mind the protocols of “social distancing”.

5. For intermediate semester/year students, the universities may conduct examinations, after making 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 does not appear to be normal in view of COVID-19, in order to maintain “social distancing”, safety and health of the students, grading of the students could be composite of 50% marks on the basis of the pattern of internal evaluation adopted by the universities and the remaining 50% marks can be awarded on the basis of performance in previous semester only (if available). The internal evaluation can be continuous evaluation, prelims, mid-semester, internal evaluation or whatever name is given for student progression.In the situations where previous semester or previous year marks are not available, particularly in the first year of annual pattern of examinations, 100% evaluation may be done on the basis of internal assessments. If the student wishes to improve the grades, he/she may appear in special exams for such subjects during next semester.This provision for intermediate semester examinations is only for the current academic session (2019-20) in view of COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining safety and health of all the stakeholders and sanctity and quality of examinations. 

 6. In addition to the above, following steps are required to be taken:i. 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 he/ she has failed/ remained absent, whenever the examination is held next.ii. The students may be allowed to improve their grades by offering one additional opportunity to appear for the current semester course(s) in succeeding semesters/ years or through supplementary examinations. 

7. The modalities for examination and other related activities be applied uniformly across all courses in a university. 

8. The students should be informed well in advance (at least one week) about the conduct of examinations and other related activities.

 9. Regarding the requirement of minimum percentage of attendance for the students/ research scholars, the period of lockdown may be treated as ‘deemed to be attended’ by all the students/ research scholars. 

10.The universities may adopt appropriate strategies to facilitate the UG/ PG students pursuing Projects/ Dissertations, in view of the prevailing circumstances. The universities may consider to assign review-based/ secondary data-based projects or software-driven projects, instead of laboratory-based experiments or field/ survey-based assignments to these students.

11.The universities may conduct the practical examinations and Viva-Voce Examinations through Skype or other meeting apps, and in case of intermediate semesters, the practical examinations may be conducted during the ensuing semesters.

12.The universities may conduct the Ph.D. and M. Phil. Viva -Voce Examinations through Video Conferencing using Google, Skype, Microsoft Technologies or any other reliable and mutually convenient technology, subject to the approval of the concerned statutory authority of the university, in compliance of Clause 9.6 to 9.9 of the UGC Regulations, 2016 regarding award of M. Phil / Ph.D. Degree. While conducting the Viva-Voce Examination through Video Conferencing using electronic means, it may be ensured that it will be open to be attended by members of the Research Advisory Committee, all faculty members of the department, research scholars and other interested experts/ researchers, besides the Research Supervisor and Expert(s)/Examiner(s), as applicable. It is also imperative on the part of the university to maintain due record of the same, including the report signed by Expert(s)/ Examiner(s) appointed for conducting the same.

13.The M.Phil. or Ph.D. students, whose maximum period for submission of M. Phil./ Ph.D. Dissertation/ Thesis prescribed under relevant rules/ regulations/ ordinances of the concerned universities is expired/ expiring during the Corona pandemic period, may be allowed to submit their Dissertation/ Thesis, including completion of pending formalities, within six months from the date of expiry of regular prescribed period. The extension of six months may also be considered for those students who are yet to submit their Dissertation/ Thesis.

14.Every University shall establish a cell for handling student grievances related to examinations and academic activities during COVID-19 pandemic and notify effectively to the students.

15.The UGC will establish a Help Line for monitoring student grievances related to examinations and academic activities during COVID-19 pandemic.

 

ACADEMIC CALENDAR

1. The following calendar is suggested for the academic session 2019-2020:

The Academic Calendar is suggestive in nature. The universities may adopt / adapt it after making a comprehensive assessment of their level of preparedness, residential status of the students, status of COVID-19 pandemic spread in their city / region / state and other factors.




- If situation so demands, the universities can have Summer Vacations for 30 days from 01-06-2020 to 30-06-2020. In that case the teaching-learning through various modes can be held up to 15-05-2020 and subsequently Finalization of Dissertation etc. may be completed from 16-05-2020 to 31-05-2020.

2. The universities should develop a fool-proof plan before the resumption of session, strictly following the norms of “social distancing” and other required precautions, to avoid any eventuality arising due to COVID-19.

3. Admissions to the UG and PG programmes for the session 2020-21 may be completed by 31.08.2020. If necessity arises, provisional admissions may also be made and relevant documents of qualifying examination may be accepted up to 30.09.2020.

4. The Academic Session 2020-21 may commence from 01.8.2020 for old students and from 01.09.2020 for fresh students. 

The following calendar is suggested for the academic session 2020-2021:

1. All the universities may follow a 6-day week pattern to compensate the loss for the remaining session of 2019-20 and the next session 2020-21.

2. In view of the importance of “social distancing”, universities may take necessary steps to ensure that the students are given exposure to laboratory assignments/ practical experiments through virtual laboratories, sharing of the recorded visuals of laboratory work and digital resources available for the purpose. The link provided by Ministry of Human Resource Development for virtual laboratories to facilitate the students of science/ engineering/ technology streams may be suitable for such purposes.

3. Every institute should develop virtual classroom and video conferencing facility and all teaching staff should be trained with the use of the technology.

4. The universities should prepare e-content/e-lab experiments and upload the same on their websites.

5. The universities should strengthen the mechanism of mentor-mentee counselling through a dedicated portal on university website to impart timely guidance and counselling to the students. Besides, the faculty advisor and supervisor assigned to each student should maintain regular communication with the students. 

6. The universities may devise a proforma to record the Travel/ Stay history of the staff and students for the period when they were away from the university due to lockdown, so that necessary precautions may be taken in specific cases, if required. In addition, the universities will strictly comply with all precautions and preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID -19.

7. In order to overcome such challenges in future, the faculty should be adequately trained for the use of ICT and online teaching tools, so that they complete about 25% of the syllabus through online teaching and 75% syllabus through face to face teaching.

8. In view of the present scenario and future uncertainties:

  •  The universities may adopt and implement these Guidelines in a transparent manner by making alterations/ additions/ modifications/ amendments to deal with particular situation(s) in the best interest of students, educational institution and the entire education system.

  •  If the university faces difficulty in making admissions as per the existing policy, it may adopt alternative modes of admission process, if otherwise legally tenable.

  • In case of educational institutions located at places where the Government (Centre/ State) have imposed restrictions on gathering of public, the institutions may plan accordingly. In any case, the above recommendations shall not cause any restrictions on the guidelines/directions issued by the appropriate Government/competent authority.

Not with standing the above Guidelines regarding the resumption of session, conduct of examinations and commencement of next academic session, every university/ college has to ensure that it is prepared in all respects to carry out the academic activities following necessary advisories/guidelines/directions issued by the Central/State Government, MHRD or UGC from time to time to prevent the spread of COVID-19.