An eight-member committee was formed to prepare the guidelines
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has decided to set uniform guidelines for all universities across the country to ensure online classes and exams amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“The unified policy would be applicable to all public and private universities. This will make sure that none of the students are deprived of the opportunity of continuing their studies and can also complete their courses maintaining international standards,” said UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah to Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.
On Saturday, an eight-member committee was formed to prepare the guidelines, led by UGC member, Prof Dil Afroza Begum.
UGC Secretary Prof Ferdous Zaman has been appointed member secretary of the committee.
The other members of the committee include Prof Sajjad Hossain, and Prof Muhammad Alamgir, among others.
Also, vice-chancellors (VC) of National University, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, and Islamic Arabic University, and the Director General of the Department of Technical Education, have been included in the committee.
Prof Ferdous Zaman said: “We have sought information from universities about what kind of facilities they have and what they lack to conduct online classes.
“UGC has sent survey questions in this regard to the VCs of all government universities. They have till May 20 to provide us with their feedback. After which we will start working on the guidelines.”
However, UGC, through other surveys and studies has come to know that only 60% of the country's university going students have digital devices required for online education.
“Dhaka University conducted an internal survey to determine how many of its students have the resources to be able to take part in online classes and exams and found that 40% of the students do not have a smartphone.
“So, we are now thinking of having televised classes for students pursuing higher education. The final decision will be taken in Monday’s virtual meeting which is scheduled for 1pm,” said Prof Ferdous Zaman.
The government has already aired lessons on BTV and Sangsad TV for school and college students to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Earlier on May 7, UGC allowed private universities to hold online exams in order to complete running semesters which have already completed 70% of the syllabus with at least 60% of students being present.
The apex body for higher education finalized a directive with several guidelines, including two alternative proposals for private universities to conduct online classes in finishing their ongoing semesters.
Despite UGC’s call for online classes and exams to avoid a session jam, public universities showed much reluctance to be on board with online learning.
Educational institutions all across the country have been closed since April 16 as the government was forced to impose a ‘holiday’ to control the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
As of Sunday, Bangladesh confirmed 22,268 coronavirus cases with the death toll rising to 328 after 14 new fatalities were reported.
Till now the fast-spreading coronavirus has claimed more than 313,000 lives and infected more than 4,750,000 people globally, according to Worldometer.
As many as 1,830,526 people have recovered from Covid-19, which has spread to 210 countries and territories across the world.