Pandemic effect: Undecided on exams, new session, Bihar varsities await guidelines
Due to demographic profile of students in Bihar, with majority being from the rural areas with limited facilities and poor internet connectivity which came as a big hindrance during attempts to dabble in online classes, the universities are skeptical about online examinations option.Updated: Jun 05, 2020 18:19 IST
The universities in Bihar, always struggling with delayed academic sessions, are still undecided on how they would conduct their examinations in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic and are awaiting guidelines from the Chancellor office.
Due to demographic profile of students in Bihar, with majority being from the rural areas with limited facilities and poor internet connectivity which came as a big hindrance during attempts to dabble in online classes, the universities are skeptical about online examinations option.
Governor-cum-Chancellor of universities Phagu Chouhan has called a meeting with vice chancellors through video conferencing starting next week to discuss progress on National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and other reforms and preparedness of universities in the light of new challenges. The VC would be conducted with three universities at a time.
Patna University acting vice chancellor HN Prasad, who is also the VC of Nalanda Open University, said that efforts were underway to work out a tentative plan for examinations in July, but it would be a challenge. Normally, the session in PU starts from July 1. It has been the only university with timely academic session.
He said that organizing examination online was not looking feasible due to lack of infrastructure and practical problems. “But the examinations have to be held, may be in the traditional way, but everything will depend on the COVID-19 situation. University Grants Commission has also given guidelines regarding examinations,” he added.
PU also has to organize the entrance test for admissions in its degree courses. Last year also, it was delayed due to confusion over the implementation of the new reservation roster and 10% quota to the students from the economically weaker section (EWS) in colleges and universities.
Munger University VC RK Verma said that examination was a priority, as the university had struggled to bring back the session on track last year. “This year, we had announced exams from March 24, but after that everything stopped. Now, the challenge is to get the colleges in shape before planning any exam, as most of them were used as quarantine centres. They need thorough sanization, else they will become source of infection,” he added.
Verma said that the contaminants could pose serious health hazard even after the migrants leave. “We cannot change the exam system, as it is governed by ordinance and statutes, but we will have to take due precaution, which will involve creating more exam centres to ensure proper social distancing,” he added.
Disaster management department principal Secretary Pratyaya Amrit said that after June 15, all the government building and schools and colleges requisitioned for quarantine centres would be thoroughly sanitized as per the standard protocol before handing them over to the concerned authorities. “All DMs will soon be issued instruction in this regard. The health department has issued detailed guidelines in this regard,” he added.
Most of the universities have been beset with late academic sessions in Bihar and the disruption due to COVID-19 is set to further derail the attempts to streamline it. Chancellor’s office has also been consistently underlining the need for regularizing academic sessions, but it is mostly delayed, except in PU.
The students’ wing of the BJP, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad has also written to the PU VC to work out an arrangement of constant evaluation for promoting students in the light of the regulation of the ministry of Human resource development. It has also urged the VC for fee waiver for six months, as the institutions a been closed.
“The online courses being run online are a mere eyewash, as it is not reaching students living in far off places due to poor connectivity and lack of facilities. There should be an arrangement to upload e-content and video lectures on the university website for the convenience of the students. The university should also clear the mist on PUCET and whether it would be online and offline,” said the ABVP letter.