The Panjab University has decided to adopt the semester system in all undergraduate courses on the campus, at the University School of Open Learning, regional centres and affiliated colleges from the next academic session, commencing in July.
A proposal to this effect was approved by the Senate, the highest decision-making body of the university, at a meeting held on Sunday.
The university already has the semester system in place for postgraduate courses.
While a majority of the fellows favoured a switch-over to the semester system, some of them expressed apprehensions in view of the shortage of teachers in rural colleges. As many as 183 of the 188 affiliated colleges and five regional centres of the university are in Punjab.
Gurdip Sharma, principal of GGDSD College, Hoshiarpur, recalled that the proposal was first passed by Syndicate, subject to lifting of the ban by the Punjab government on recruitment of teachers in government-aided colleges.
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Taking note of the concern, Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover said that talks were going on with the Punjab government in this regard, and a positive result was expected.
However, he added that the issue of switch-over to the semester system was too important to be postponed, and requested the members to go ahead with it.
A proposal of USOL to postpone the implementation of the semester system by one year was also rejected. USOL chairperson L K Bansal stated that they faced practical operational problems in view of the large number of students, time required for preparation of syllabus and printing of study materials, and inadequate staff.
But the fellows dismissed the constraints as mere technicalities, and demanded that either USOL should also adopt the semester system, or the implementation for the entire university be delayed by a year.
“It is important that USOL should also adopt the semester system, because otherwise students from colleges will prefer to take admission in USOL where they will have to appear for exams just once in a year. Moreover, students admitted in USOL will not be able to shift to other colleges in second year,” said Dr R P S Josh, a fellow.