The University Grants Commission (UGC) held a meeting Monday to discuss the recommendations submitted by two expert committees, including one on conducting common admission tests for academic degree programmes. The UGC had set up two committees this month, in the wake of the government-mandated classroom shutdown, to suggest an indicative academic calendar for 2020-21 and ways to promote online learning to make up for the learning disruption.
Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16 as one of the measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
The committee, led by Haryana Central University vice-chancellor R C Kuhad and tasked with proposing the academic calendar for 2020-21, is learned to have suggested common admission tests at the undergraduate and postgraduate level.
The recommendation, sources said, was made keeping in mind the difficulty candidates may face in travelling to different test centres to appear for various entrance exams because of travel restrictions in place across the country.
Common admission tests, as proposed by the Kuhan panel, are meant for academic programmes and not professional degree programmes, for which, common entrance examinations are already conducted at the national and state level.
Till Monday evening, the Commission had not decided whether the recommendation on entrance test should be accepted.
“We cannot make anything compulsory. At best, we can advise institutions to pool resources to conduct common admission tests for as many academic programmes as possible in the interest of the students,” said a UGC official who did not wish to be identified.
The higher education regulator, in all likelihood, will accept the Kuhad Committee’s suggestion on delaying the start of the new academic session by two months — from mid-July to September.
As first reported by The Indian Express on April 26, the Kuhad committee has suggested that the semester-end (odd semester) examination should be held in July (July 1-15 for final-year students and July 16-31 for intermediate year students).
The month of June should be treated as summer vacation, the report states.
For students entering higher education, the committee has suggested that the admission process should be held in August and the academic session should begin in September. The new academic session for intermediate year students is proposed to start from August 1.
The UGC is expected to release an “indicative” academic calendar for 2020-21 along with “broad guidelines” on pending semester-end examination by Wednesday. Universities and colleges will be free to make changes to the academic calendar depending on their local circumstances and lockdown situation.