Sunday, November 28

West Bengal universities expect session to begin in November after Puja break

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) is likely to revise its earlier recommendations on starting the new academic year from September-October. A panel, which was set up by the UGC and headed by Haryana University vice-chancellor R C Kuhad, is revisiting the guidelines issued earlier by the UGC for intermediate and terminal semester examinations as well. Sources indicated that they would recommend scrapping the terminal semester exams.

State-run universities in Bengal, however, are looking at starting the academic session from November due to the pandemic and also considering the closure of all campuses during Durga Puja in October. Vice-chancellors are also pointing at the late publication of the state’s higher secondary examination results as another reason for the delay.

“Though the panel’s recommendations before the UGC will be placed on Friday, the guidelines issued earlier will have to be revised. We are ready with our own formulae in Bengal,” said a source in the higher education department.

The state government has already decided to keep all the government, government-aided and private educational institutes closed till July 31. The administrative work and related activities will continue.

A VC pointed out that beginning the session from November after completing the admission formalities would have meant curtailing the syllabus. “If the academic year is pushed back even further, then we must tweak the syllabus. Till now, there is no clarity on reducing the load of UG syllabus from UGC,” said the VC. He added, “We will also have to reframe the academic calendar of the 2020-2021session. Holding the semester examinations as per earlier schedule won’t be possible in the upcoming semester since it will begin later.”

The Bengal government is also considering scrapping all evaluation methods based on the current semester syllabi in the terminal semester. Instead, the universities are likely to award the best score among the past semesters or an average percentage received in the earlier semesters to the final semester candidates in both UG and PG programmes.

Sources indicated that the government is keen to allow interested candidates willing to appear in the examinations as and when the situation returns to normal and universities are in a position to hold them — a policy adopted by Maharashtra.

Education minister Partha Chatterjee had earlier stressed the need to plan unitedly, taking into consideration the needs of all the stakeholders while keeping an eye on the steps taken by other states.

Source:Times of India

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