Pune: Students pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate across the country will now a get two-year grace period to clear their backlog papers. Beyond the scheduled duration of their degree programmes the students would be given the grace period.
In order to bring in uniformity over the grace period across universities the University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued guidelines in this regard.
Higher education institutions and Universities are not allowed to set different time spans for students to complete their degree studies after the regulation period is over.
As per the guidelines a student pursuing a three-year undergraduate programme or a four or five-year professional course such as engineering, medical or integrated law course would be given two more years to clear his/her backlog papers, leading to award of degree
Similarly, students at the postgraduate level will also be given two years to clear their backlog, if any.
In a letter to the vice-chancellors of all universities, UGC secretary Jaspal S Sandhu has asked authorities to pursue and adopt these guidelines.
The guidelines were formulated after the UGC constituted an experts' committee to determine a uniform time period for completion of degree-level programmes. The uniformity was also needed in view of reforms like choice-based credit system.
"The guidelines are certainly a good step towards maintaining uniformity in standards. However, we will have to see how universities respond to them," Ravi Bharadwaj, education and legal consultant, told TOI.
He said the guidelines are subject to the regulations of the statutory bodies and universities governing grant of degrees, and hence may merely be recommendatory in nature, not mandatory.
"However, these guidelines were required from an academic point of view, considering reforms like introduction of choice-based credit system, which require institutes to regularly update their curriculum. A longer grace period would deprive students of knowledge and skill as on the date of completing the degree course," he said.
There is also no clarity on whether these guidelines cover distance education courses, Bharadwaj added.
The guidelines accommodate cases of exceptional situations by allowing educational institutions to permit extension of the grace period by one more year. During this extended period, such students will be considered to be private candidates and will not be eligible for ranking.