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UGC allows online exams for public univs

by Khan Helal

The University Grants Commission (UGC) yesterday allowed public universities to hold exams online, considering students’ interests and also reducing session jams.

The regulatory body urged all universities to maintain the quality and international standards of the tests while holding it online amid the pandemic.

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Public universities will be able to conduct exams online in line with decision of their academic councils, deans’ committees or other bodies concerned, UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah told The Daily Star.

He made the comments after holding a meeting with vice chancellors of all public universities to discuss the process of holding online exams.

“None can say when the Covid-19 situation will end. We have to learn how to live adapting with it. There are some issues like sessions jams,” he added.

Shahjalal University of Science and Technology VC Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed said all the universities agreed on to hold the online exams.

In April, the education ministry formed a committee to prepare a draft guideline on how to hold online exams at public universities. The committee presented their guideline at the meeting.

One of the committee members and UGC member Prof Muhammed Alamgir said they would send the recommendations to the education ministry soon.

The ministry itself can issue a directive regarding the matter, or they can assign the UGC to take steps regarding online exams at public universities, he said.

Public universities were holding online classes as they could not take in-person classes since March 17 last year, when the government closed all educational institutions due to the pandemic.

The closure has been extended till May 23 this year in phases.

According to UGC statistics, there are 49 public universities in the country. About 3 lakh students are studying at these universities, except National University, Islamic University and Bangladesh Open University.


The guideline says public university students have completed theory classes for two semesters since April last year, but they are yet to sit for semester final exams. Students are losing interest in their studies as they are not sure when the exams will be held.

It mentions that grades can be awarded to students after holding online exams on specific subjects by giving “creative assignments”, “creative quiz/ MCQ questions”, and holding “time-constrained class tests” and viva voce exams.

But students should keep the camera and microphone of their devices turned on while taking the exams online.

Practical tests will be held after normalcy returns.

“Universities must have to hold viva and they can also choose all the options or two or three of them”, said UGC member and committee chief Prof Dil Afroza Begum.

She said there should be a viva board to take the exams and all activities should be recorded. Students should be asked different questions.

A committee member said universities can develop a system in which a student can write the answer and take a picture of it and send it to the university.

The member said universities will keep in mind that no student is affected due to shortage of digital devices or interrupted internet access, and there should be steps to stop adoption of unfair means by students during exams.

Dil Afroza said that UGC had earlier provided over 41,000 students of public universities Tk 8,000 each interest-free loans to buy smartphones.

It has also arranged 30GB internet data at the cost of Tk 200 for each public university student per month, so there will be no problem of internet access, she added.

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