Amid the Coronavirus- induced lockdown , the University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed all universities in the country to set up a cell for handling grievances of students related to examinations and other academic activities which took a back-seat due to the pandemic.

A task force to monitor the redressal of grievances and problems raised by students and teachers is also being set up by the UGC.

The Commission had last month issued guidelines on examination and academic calendar in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In accordance with the earlier guidelines, all universities have been advised to plan their academic activities keeping in view safety and interest of all stakeholders, giving highest priority to the health of all concerned while adopting and implementing the new guidelines,”  UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain was quoted by IANS as saying.

“Universities have also been asked to establish a cell for handling grievances of students related to examinations and other academic activities arising due to the pandemic and notify the same to students,” he added.

Meanwhile the existing grievance redressal portal of the UGC can also be used by the students for any queries.

“A task force has been constituted at UGC to monitor concerns, grievances of students, teachers and institutions and address them accordingly,” Jain added.

The educational institutes across the country have been closed since March 16 when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as one of the measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak. While online classes were being arranged for the students in both schools and colleges.

A nationwide lockdown was announced later on March 24, which has now been extended till May 17.

The commission has said that the exams for final semester students will be conducted in July after detailing the guidelines for examinations and academic calendar for the universities in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For freshers, the varsities may begin the new academic session from September and for already enrolled students in August. While the admission process can be started from August 1, according to the UGC recommendation.