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Academic session on hold, says Partha Chatterjee

The minister made the announcement after a meeting with vice-chancellors
State education minister Partha Chatterjee

Subhankar Chowdhury   |   Calcutta   |   Published 13.06.20, 09:36 PM

It will not be possible to start the academic session now in colleges and universities, education minister Partha Chatterjee said on Saturday.

Chatterjee made the announcement after a meeting with vice-chancellors. “We will take stock of what other states are doing in this regard. We have taken note of what some states are doing… based on those inputs we will take the final call soon.”

Some of the VCs suggested that the session starts from January next year, a higher education department official said. Some wanted the session to start from November after the Puja vacation, the official said.

In Bengal, the academic session starts from mid-July after the publication of the Plus-II board results.

A vice-chancellor present at the meeting said many VCs brought to the minister’s notice that the World Health Organization (WHO) had projected cases would peak in July. “We requested minister Chatterjee to take stock of the situation on the ground and defer the start of the academic session as far as possible,” the VC said.

Given the “inadequate availability” of transport, a student will find it difficult to reach the campuses, another VC said. “We have seen how office commuters have to travel on buses disregarding distancing rules because of few transport options. If students are to travel like this, they will bring health hazard to campuses. It is better to start the session later.”

Minister Chatterjee said the meeting focused on ways to maintain the safety of students, teachers, employees and members of the non-teaching staff.

The government has already decided to keep schools shut in July, he said.

In the meeting it was decided that assessments of final-year undergraduate and postgraduate students would be held without requiring them to visit campuses.

A VC said he and the others suggested the model recommended by the University Grants Commission. “The UGC has said that arts and science students can be assessed by giving 50 per cent weightage to the best of the semester grade point average (SGPA) from previous semesters and the remaining to internal assessment,” he said.

In engineering education, the mode of assessment has been left to Jadavpur University and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology. “They will follow what the All India Council for Engineering and Technology says,” another official said.

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