The nation-wide lockdown due to the pandemic is now in phase 3.0. The biggest concern among students are how their 2020-2021 college admissions and those finishing their final year of college will be affected. We are getting a little more clarity on how schools and colleges will be responding to the situation.
State board and CBSE board exams
State board exams: The Tamil Nadu government had postponed the board exams for Class 10 that was scheduled for March 27th. The country had gone into lockdown mode on March 25th and 9.45 lakh students in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry who were expecting a culmination of their year long preparation were left a little dazed. There is still no announcement about when the exams will be held.
The Tamil Nadu education minister, K A Sengottaiyan had announced that the new exam dates will be announced after the lockdown ends on May 3rd and that exam dates will be a tight schedule. It is expected now that new exam dates will be announced after the May 17th revised end of the lockdown. The minister has clarified that exams will definitely be held.
The TN SSLC exams have still a few exam papers pending and new dates will be announced after the lockdown ends.
Evaluation of board exam answer sheets for standard 12 HSE exam are expected to be put in process so that there will be announcement of results.
CBSE exams: All schools have been advised to promote students to the class 10 and class 12 for 2020-2021 based on project work and periodic tests. If any child does not have the required marks then remedial online classes should be taken during the lockdown period. For standard 10 board exams and remaining exams for CBSE, the board has announced that a 10-day notice would be given for new exam dates.
The CBSE board has decided not to conduct exams for the balance subjects that were not completed. Schools will use internal marks for the 10th to 11th admissions. Those that have maintained a good academic record are going to be gainers here, showing that one never knows how important internal assessments can be.
As far as CBSE 12 examinations are concerned, the board has decided to only hold examination for the main subjects. These subjects are Business studies, Hindi (core and elective), Home Science, Sociology, Geography, Computer science, Information Technology, Information Practice and Biotechnology. Announcement of new dates will be announced.
The effect on college admissions
College admissions will be delayed and the semester start is expected to be in September according to the UGC panel. Competitive exam dates have still not been announced. NEET which was scheduled for May 3rd 2020 has now been postponed to June. New exam dates will be announced soon.
Universities and colleges will be expected to have an online admission system and many of them already do so. In fact, making the complete admission process online is being mulled so as to minimise visits of students for verification of documents. Software products for complete digitalisation of the admission process are now gaining more importance for speed of delivery.
Due to the lockdown the academic sessions will be delayed and there is a discussion whether syllabus for the year should be reduced by 30%. The greater probability is that winter holidays and working on Saturdays may help make up the mandatory 90 days for the first semester.
Since this is a global pandemic, all countries are affected similarly and so too the students. Higher education prospects will be equally affected for students worldwide. Students who were looking to go abroad for undergrad, as well as postgraduation courses, will be affected with July intakes being canceled and September intake doubtful, depending on lifting on flight and visa restrictions.
Students in the final year of college
Intermediate students i.e. in the first and second year will be graded based on internal assessment and exams will be conducted in July where the situation is normal i.e. in the green zones. Evaluation of answer sheets will be done over the weekend. Once the semester begins, colleges are expected to conduct at least 25% of their classes through the online mode. Extension of 6 months by UGC will be given to MPhil and Ph.D. students to complete their course.
Placement opportunities for final year students has been affected. Many colleges have not been able to conduct their placement sessions before the lockdown and the economic downturn will affect job opportunities. All is not grim and opening up of the economy will see many of the fears allayed.