TED NewsDesk, Kolkata: The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic resulted in delayed sessions in schools and universities across the country. Due to the nationwide lockdown, these institutions have shifted their classes from offline to online platforms. Given the delayed sessions, varsities of West Bengal are finding it tough to meet the demands of UGC, for the new session that is likely to begin from November 1. The administration raised its concern stating that the colleges may not be able to complete the prescribed syllabus of Undergraduate courses for the academic session 2020-21 in nine months.
The following session 2021-22 may start from August 30, 2021. The officials said that they are looking forward to developing a framework to cover the curriculum in the assigned duration once they finish the final semester that will take place in October. Recently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) directed the universities to complete the UG admissions till October 31 and suggested to begin the new academic year 2020-21 from November 1.
“Even if classes are held six days a week, it will be difficult to complete the entire curriculum within nine months in the present semester-based system,” a senior Jadavpur University functionary told PTI on Friday.
He further stated that universities need to plan out vacations before framing the academic calendar.
“We are currently preoccupied with conducting supplementary examinations for earlier semesters, laboratory projects, besides preparing for holding the final semester examinations from October 1. Implementing the UGC advisory to complete admission to the first year by October 31 will not be much of a problem. But we have to find a way to complete the 2020-21 academic schedule,” the official added.
As informed by an official from Calcutta University, the Senate is likely to conduct a meeting with the Vice-chancellor. It is the management board of the university. The conclave will focus on planning the session based on the UGC guidelines and developing a framework to carry out the same as per the prescribed schedule.
“As the West Bengal assembly elections are due in April-May next year, many educational institutions will become polling centres. That will certainly impede the process of holding classes during that period,” said Sabyasachi Basu Roychowdhury, Vice-Chancellor, Rabindra Bharati University.
Partha Pratim Roy, General Secretary, Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA), said, “Personally, I think the entire 2020-21 academic calendar could have been deferred by one year, instead of taking hasty decisions which will create confusion among students.”
“As an organisation, the JUTA will speak on the issue later. We will give our views as stakeholders and in the interest of the students,” he supplemented.
As per the statement of All Bengal University Teachers’ Association (ABUTA), it is quite “irresponsible” for UGC to recommend the commencement of physical classes. He alleged that it adds risk to the lives of students, keeping in mind the Centre’s incapability “to control the COVID-19 outbreak”.
The pandemic has hugely impacted the educational and economic status of the country. To open schools and colleges is a need of the hour. However, the government needs to ensure the safety of students for the future of the youth and the nation.