UGC has allowed students to pursue internships online, just as the work from home policy has been adopted for the employees.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) is a statutory body set up by the Government of India under the Ministry of Human Resource Development to carry out the processes of coordination, determination, and maintenance of standards of higher education in India.

The UGC released a list of important dates for the universities to follow which said that the summer break will be during the period of lockdown, after which the universities will be required to conduct their examinations from July 1, 2020 to July 15, 2020, for which a set of guidelines has been issued by them and shall be circulated to each and every university. 

Under the effect of the lockdown imposed all over the country due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID19), the universities have been closed down. Most universities require their students in professional courses to pursue internships during the summer break, which does not seem possible in the current situation. The UGC said that this letter was issued in continuation with the previous letter released on the academic calendar.

To expedite the internships the students, need to take up, the UGC has allowed students to pursue internships online, just as the work from home policy has been adopted for the employees of the companies. The UGC has asked students to be given engaging work platforms so that the shadow of the coronavirus is not cast on student placements and internships. 

The letter read that it is “advisory” in nature and not mandatory so the universities can plan their “activities keeping in view the safety and interest of our stakeholders, giving highest priority to health of all concerned, while adopting and implementing the Guidelines".

The following measures are to be taken according to the letter issued by the UGC in this regard:

  1. “Allow the students to take up 'online internships/ activities' including activities that can be carried out digitally or otherwise from home.
  2. Engage them to work as interns on ongoing projects.
  3. Delay the start date for internship.
  4. Reduce the period of internship clubbing with assignments etc.”

Meanwhile, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has opened 49 online courses for students to enrol themselves into. Websites like Coursera and Internshala are offering paid and unpaid internships for students to work from home. TCS has already opened an avenue of opportunities for students to procure certified courses in different employability skills. 

It is a good time for students/learners to utilise from the perspective depending upon how less they are burdened with work right now as compared to other times when universities are functioning. 

Apart from the fact that courses can be knowledge resources, the fact that a global recession is lurking around with its dangers right now is also significant. The students can pass out of the universities with skills so that they get employed and are more competent than others. During the recession, when people will be losing jobs and large companies will lay off their employees, the skills that make a particular employee stand out will be of great utility.

Hence, in circumstances like these when doing field internships is not possible for students, they have the fair chance of utilising the lockdown period to gain practicable skills beyond their textbooks. 

Students are expected to engage in professions that well-nigh fascinate them as well as for which they aspire as students have dreams to be employed in the company of their choice.

Therefore, the UGC regulations that have given this liberty to students is most certainly going to open doors for students to face the upcoming circumstances once the lockdown is over.

The UGC has, in the letter previously issued, said that the new semesters for students of second and third year will resume in August, 2020.

The letter also advises universities to keep their mode of examinations in line with the norm of social distancing. The conventional examination procedures are not to be stressed upon as suggested by the UGC. The entire time of the lockdown is to be utilised for taking classes and putting up lectures on university websites through Moodle, Zoom, Google Classroom, and other such online forums. 

The transformation from conventional teaching methods to the technology-oriented teaching and learning is taking the nation into a progressive direction. The advantages of this kind of teaching and learning are many. But the foremost is that it is accessible to all. Many students in the remote areas where companies do not reach and opportunities are not easily available can pursue their internships and gain work experience with the same big names as those in the developed cities of the country today. 

The universality, the effectiveness and the compliance of these methods with the needs of the students makes it desirable. The UGC’s steps have been accepted by students with a deep sense of appreciation for the new policies. 

In future too, such internships should be allowed by the UGC so that students can always have the aforementioned advantages to grease their wheels in corporate or field work later.

Edited by Shraddha Jha

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