Many private universities have decided to assign students grades without holding semester finals and enroll new students sans admission tests, due to the evolving novel coronavirus situation.
Two reputed private universities -- Brac University and Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) -- have decided they will not be holding final exams for the spring semester and asked faculty members to complete grading based on coursework completed so far.
Three private universities -- IUB, United International University (UIU), and the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) -- have also decided to enroll students for the summer semester without an admissions test, based only on their SSC and HSC results.
The authorities of at least eight private universities said the closure of educational institutions due to the coronavirus outbreak is taking a heavy toll on future admissions, as entry tests have been indefinitely deferred.
COURSE GRADES WITHOUT SEMESTER FINALS
Several teachers of Brac University said the university will remain closed until April 9, as per the registrar's office.
"There will be no more classes of Spring 2020 (online or otherwise). Faculty members are requested to complete grading based on coursework completed thus far."
"The above decision to conclude the semester was taken primarily to reduce students' anxiety over coursework and grades in this stressful time. There will be no finals. Given the extraordinary circumstances of this term, faculty members are asked to be lenient and understanding of the situation when assigning grades," said the order.
Vice Chancellor Professor Vincent Chang was not available for comment as he was abroad. Brac University Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Mohammad Tamim confirmed the matter to The Daily Star.
A section of teachers, however, alleged Vice Chancellor Vincent Chang alone took the decision. Students who did not perform well in class tests usually gets a chance to make up their grades in the final exams, but there will be no such option now, one teacher pointed out.
Pro-VC Tamim said that Brac University is getting feedback from teachers. "I think there is scope for reviewing the decision," he said.
The IUB authorities have asked all course instructors to assign grades based on the available semester assessments -- the midterm, quizzes, presentations, assignments -- and inform students via email or social media.
Students who would like to improve the assigned results are requested to contact their respective course faculty members for additional assignments; the nature of the assignment is at the discretion of the faculty member, said IUB registrar Brig Gen (Retd) Md Anwarul Islam.
He said the University Grants Commission (UGC) do not have any set rules on assessment.
Fakhrul Islam, UGC private university division director, said the universities have taken these decisions based on the current situation and the closure of educational institutions.
All educational institutions were ordered shut from March 17 to 31; this has since been extended to April 9.
Top DSHE officials said that there is a strong possibility that the government will extend the closure till April 14 -- and perhaps even till the 25th. And in case of the latter, schools and colleges will remain off till May 31 for the Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr vacation.
NO ADMISSIONS TESTS
The IUB authorities have cancelled admission test-2 of the summer semester, scheduled for April 18, said registrar Anwarul Islam.
He said that students will be enrolled based on their GPA in SSC, HSC or O-level and A-level results and an online or phone interview if necessary.
Abu Sadat, UIU deputy director of PR, said the university has also cancelled their admissions test for the summer semester. "We will enroll students based on the results of their SSC and HSC exams."
Zamal Uddin Bhuiyan, deputy registrar (admissions) at ULAB, confirmed the same for the upcoming semester.
Authorities of North South University, Brac University, East West University, and the University of Asia Pacific have also deferred admission tests.
Public universities enroll students in three semesters -- spring (January to April), summer (May to August) and fall (September to December). Every year, about 25 percent of students enroll in the summer semester.
There are 105 private universities in the country; of these, 97 are licensed to carry out academic activities.