The Indian Government has directed all the educational institutions across the country to shut down since mid-March due to the nationwide lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The University Grants Commission has issued guidelines on Thursday to reopen all the universities across the nation. The Central Government had allowed reopening the schools and higher educational institutions in phases after 15th October 2020 based on the situation in specific regions.
However, the precise timing and mode of reopening the educational institutions had to be decided by each state respectively. Several states have already reopened the schools in a phased manner. For the last few days, announcements have been flowing on getting back the students of different colleges and universities. For instance, the state governments of Punjab and Haryana have permitted colleges and universities to conduct in-person classes after Diwali starting from 16th November 2020.
As part of the newly issued guidelines, the commission has mentioned the measures that all the educational institutions must follow before conducting physical classes within campuses. The guidelines also detailed the safety measures that the authorities must follow at the entry and exit points at various locations inside the campuses. The UGC also discussed the counselling and mental health of the students.
The State Government of West Bengal has asked the institutions to plan for classes within the campuses in December. The head of each institution can take a final call on reopening the central universities depending on the ‘viability of the opening of in-person classes.’ As per the guidelines, only 50 percent of the total students should be present inside the campus. The UGC also asked the institutions to strictly follow the vital guidelines and protocols of social distancing to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At first, the higher education regulator suggested the universities and colleges call back students of all PG and research programmes in science and technology as their number is comparatively less. As a result, they can follow necessary measures like social distancing and the use of face masks without any problem. The guidelines also state, ‘Final-year undergraduate students can be allowed to visit campuses for placement purposes.’
The remaining students should be encouraged to take part in online classes and should be permitted to meet the faculty in smaller groups with prior appointments. The new UGC guidelines don’t mention the attendance of the students. The directions only state ‘some students may opt not to attend classes.’ The higher education regulator said that the institutions may offer access to online study material and e-resources to such students.
The guidelines also state, ‘Institutions must have a plan ready for students living abroad. This is because they won’t be able to join the programme because of visa-related issues and international travel restrictions.’ Besides this, the UGC guidelines inhibit meetings and cultural activities in huge crowds. Visit our website frequently to get the latest news such as the exams, results, and the reopening of educational institutions nationwide.