Recommendation to UGC: New Session to Start From September

Schools and universities across the country have been closed since March 16 with the lockdown still in effect. With an unprecedented halt in the academic year, online methods of teaching and learning have been adopted by schools and universities, but nevertheless the academics has suffered great losses. A government-appointed committee has recommended that the next session be delayed and instead of mid-July, the new session should begin from September.

A seven-member committee that was set up by University Grants Commission (UGC) to look into academic loss due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown submitted its report on Friday, 24th April 2020. It has recommended rescheduling the next academic year to begin from September instead of the usual July or August.

The panel was headed by the Vice-Chancellor of Haryana Central University, R C Kuhad, and among other members were A C Pandey, (Director of Inter-University Accelerator Centre), Aditya Shastri (Vice-Chancellor of Banasthali Vidyapeeth) and Raj Kumar (Head of Punjab University).

Two recommendations were made by the committee: first, to start the academic year from September, and second, the end-semester exams to be held in July. The recommendations have not been accepted by the UGC yet. If the UGC accepts the recommendations, the Union government will be required to approach the Supreme Court concerning the extension of the last dates of admission programme of Medical and Engineering.

Another committee, chaired by the Vice-Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University Dr. Nageshwar Rao was set up by UGC to make recommendations on online teaching and learning. If the universities have the infrastructure to conduct online examinations, they have been suggested to go forward with the plan. It has also advised against universities being asked to conduct online examinations mandatorily so as to protect the students coming from diverse and unsuitable environments to take tests from their area of dwelling.