Tag Archives: University Grants Commission

Universities hell bent on conducting exams at the cost of imparting education

The country went into a nationwide lockdown on March 24th because of covid-19 but universities in most of the country were locked down way before the national lockdown was announced. In Delhi, the lockdown was imposed on 2nd march in universities like DU, AU, JNU and others. Classes were stopped mid semester with a majority of the classes still left to be conducted.

After some haphazard planning and discussions where students were not consulted it was decided that the remaining classes will be conducted online. This came as a shock to many students who live in areas where internet connectivity is not very reliable and even restricted like in Kashmir. Not to mention the fact that not all students are privileged enough to have smartphones, laptops etc in their homes. Also, online classes conducted through zoom, hangouts, skype and other apps have come under lot of criticism because of technical issues like poor connectivity, low resolution, timed sessions and so on. Many students have also complained that teachers are in a rush to check off their syllabus by providing links to books, sources and other materials without a proper discussion and explanation on the topics.

IFLA -- Work/Study from Home (W/SfH) and Physical Distancing Prevention  Efforts to Spread COVID-19 in Indonesia
Study from home is a challenge for many students- IFLA Images

In situations like these, the HRD ministry and University administrations are hell bent on conducting exams without considering these problems. Though Universities like DU has cancelled exams for all undergraduates except the final year students, exams for MA students are not ruled out yet. They are conducting Open Book Exams for final year students. Other universities are still working on how to conduct exams for students. Both the options of online and offline exams are being considered without consulting students and teachers. This will definitely affect the students who don’t have access to online facilities. Even the students who have access to these facilities will have to pray for steady internet connection and hope that their devices don’t malfunction. Offline it is another nightmare, as the risk of getting corona is very high with cases rapidly rising in Delhi and other major cities. Ensuring social distancing and safety practices will be tough for the universities and the students will have to write their exams in constant fear of getting infected.

The general disregard to these problems show that our education system lacks apathy and is solely focused on conducting exams and handing out degrees like a factory production line. Imparting education and learning is definitely not on the agenda of our universities.

How Higher Education Will Change in 2021

According to the recommendations of the committee set up for draft National Education Policy (NEP), Human Resource Development (MHRD) ministry came up with a decision for modernizing the evaluation process after moving away with the school examinations in the year 2021. The newest module of evaluation would stress on assessments that are class-based and according to an official of the HRD, the schools will follow 5-3-3-4 structure.importance-of-education

All the possibilities are currently being examined by the government for finalizing the National Education Policy towards the month of October 2020, and these policies get implemented from the year 2021. “Also, we would be notifying boards for the recommendations on the new structure of the exam recommended by the committee. After getting suggestions from education experts and boards, the ministry would consider junking out the old format of 10+2, and it will proceed on the proposed process of evaluation from the year 2021,” was stated by the official to Indian Express.

The committee of draft National Education Policy (NEP) during the month of June also recommended the structure of 5-3-3-4 that comprised of five years foundation stage (with 3 years in pre-primary school with one or two classes), three preparatory years (three to five classes), and three middle stages of three years (six to eight classes), and for four years secondary stage (9 to 12 classes).

The committee has also recommended a Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog which would be chaired by the honorable prime minister. The board would also have education minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, and Chief Justice of India along with the country’s top academics. Also, it recommends the HRD ministry to be renamed as the Ministry of Education. The details are broken down by ET.

Changes in Schooling Education

The new structure was proposed by the committee on lines of international schooling based process of evaluation, which also assessed students on the basis of performance that was class-based. The committee also noted that through the present way of board examinations, the students were forced to only concentrate on some subjects without the need of getting any scope for learning an informative manner, which would eventually lead to stress among the students.

“For tracking students” progress was made throughout the experience of school, draft policy also proposed State Census Examinations with the class of three, five, and eight. Also, it further recommended the restructuring of board examinations for only testing skills, core concepts, and capacities of a higher order.

Such board examinations are based on various subjects. Students are free to choose accordingly with their subject of interest, and semester while they wished to take board exams. Final school examinations get replaced by such board examinations,” recommended the committee.

The ministry was also considering extensions of free age learning under the act of Right to Education (RTE) from 14 to 18 years of age. “As it got proposed under the NEP committee draft, the ministry currently is working on including secondary school education and early childhood education under RTE Act ambit. This extends the Act coverage to all the children aged between 3 to 18 years,” as it was said by the official.

Post School Changes

As was suggested under the panel, the higher system of education was brought within a single regulatory authority – National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA). While the University Grants Commission (UGC) is about to remain purely a grant body. Similarly to All India Council of Technical Education, National Council for Teacher Education, and Medical Council of India, it needs to evolve in Professional education standard-setting authorities, it was suggested by the panel.

The policy also suggested three universities. Universities focused on research, comprehensive teaching, and research universities with the Type 3 that are focused only on teaching. Look up omnipapers.com for more information.

The committee also recommended a four-year bachelor program for liberal arts or a bachelor’s degree in liberal education.

The panel also suggested that all courses in the undergraduate category need to be shifted to three-or-four-year duration with a lot of options for the exit while only allowing advanced diploma in discipline or after completion of two study years or diploma after completion of one year.

Different master’s program designs are proposed from the two-year program with second-year being entirely devoted to research or integrated five-year bachelor’s/master’s program besides having a single year master’s program for everyone who completed the program of four years.

Similarly, all institutes are permitted for offering a Ph.D. with either a master’s degree or four-year bachelor’s degree along with research.

Meanwhile, the states of West Bengal, Odisha, and Gujarat re-introduced the system of pass-fail for their schools.