With reopening of colleges delayed, the state higher education department on Wednesday asked universities to begin online classes for students from August 3. This is to ensure that students are taught for the mandatory academic hours for the next semester.
The higher education department convened an online meeting with vice-chancellors of state universities to discuss reopening of colleges, reducing the syllabus and awarding marks for cancelled exams. Higher education minister K P Anbalagan chaired the meeting along with higher education secretary Apoorva.
Meanwhile, in a significant decision aimed at improving the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), the Tamil Nadu Higher Education Department has decided to abolish the two-shift system in 50 recently-established government arts and science colleges. From the academic year 2020-21, these colleges will function in a single shift from 9.30 a.m to 4.30 p.m. with an hour’s lunch break.
The two-shift system, as opposed to the previously existing day and evening college, came into vogue in 2006. A cross-section of academics was of the view that college timings for each shift was so inadequate that a learner acquired neither knowledge nor skills to the extent the job market demanded of them.
The vice-chancellors also decided in the meeting to close the first year admission to UG and PG courses before September 10.
The state government is waiting for the Supreme Court’s judgement on conducting final year exams for college students. It is also waiting for a reply from the HRD ministry to a letter from chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami requesting the ministry to cancel the final year exams due to the prevailing situation.
A Government Order said, “Interaction and spending more time with teachers will be an avenue for students to identify their abilities.” The students can participate in various sports activities and skill development programmes.
“It would also avoid health issues like anemia among students. Further, more involvement in academics in turn will pave way for quality education and enhanced employment,” the G.O. added.