- Vice-chancellors of public universities will meet with the University Grants Commission on 4 May to decide the dates and the process of holding examinations
- Students have been waiting to appear at their final examinations since March 2020
- Most public universities began classes online in July last year, five months into the Covid-19 pandemic
- Psychologists and educationists think students are getting depressed due to tension about completion of their academic life and getting jobs
Public universities, which have been closed for more than a year, now want to hold last year's final examinations online after the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr in a move to curb session jams.
The vice-chancellors of all public universities of the country will meet with the University Grants Commission (UGC) on 4 May to decide the dates and the process of holding the examinations.
Meanwhile, students have been waiting to appear at their final examinations since March 2020, when the government declared the educational institutions closed as a measure toward combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
Professor Farid Uddin Ahmed, vice-chancellor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), told The Business Standard that the university had conducted classes online but did not hold examinations due to the closure of the university amid the pandemic.
"Next week we will make the final decision on the process of holding examinations. Actually, we do not want to wait anymore. We want the academic life of our students to be completed," he added.
Professor Md Alamgir, a member of the UGC, told TBS that the commission will finalise the guidelines on a holding of semester final examinations after the meeting with the vice-chancellors of public universities.
Private universities have been taking classes and holding examinations online since April 2020. Most public universities began classes online in July last year, five months into the Covid-19 pandemic.
Psychologists and educationists think that students are getting depressed due to tension about completion of their academic life and coming by jobs.
Public universities to undertake crash programmes
Public universities are planning crash programmes, such as shortening semester tenures and releasing exam results in a short span of time to curb session jams.
Dhaka University, the oldest university in the country, will reduce the semester by two months, while the period for taking examinations and publishing results will be shortened too for students to complete their academic careers in time.
"Students have lost more than one year due to the pandemic. They have completed their classes but did not get the scope to sit for examinations," Professor AKM Maksud Kamal, pro-vice-chancellor of Dhaka University, told TBS.
"We will end the upcoming semester in four months instead of six months. We have also asked teachers to be prepared for such a crash programme."
Professor Mizanur Rahman, director of the Directorate of Students' Welfare (DSW) at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, told TBS that Buet plans to take the practical examinations too through online platforms.
"Our teachers are making videos which will help students attend practical classes. Students will have the chance to ask questions if they do not understand any topic. After completing classes, we will hold practical examinations online," he said.
"The fact is that it is impossible to take some practical classes online. We will take those classes after the resumption of in-person academic activities," he said.
Meanwhile, most students did not take part in online classes due to costly data packages, a lack of digital devices – including smartphones and laptops – and a lack of availability of internet connections.
The situation of online classes is unsatisfactory at almost all public universities, including Dhaka University, with education experts and teachers saying that students are facing a digital divide.
No session jam at private universities
Private universities commenced online classes soon after the closure of educational institutions last year. In May, less than two months after the closure, the UGC allowed the private universities to hold examinations online. As a result, there has been no session jam at private universities.
Professor Atiqul Islam, vice-chancellor of North South University (NSU), told TBS that the pandemic has affected the university in many ways but its students have not been facing any session jam.
"Taking examinations online has now been stopped by the UGC. I hope that we will get a guideline on holding examinations after Eid-ul-Fitr," he added.
"We have taken preparations to continue classes online in order to curb session jams," Syed Mizanur Rahman, director (students' affairs) of Daffodil International University, told TBS.
"We have held examinations on time. Our students have completed their academic life during the pandemic."