The University Grants Commission is set to propose that this year's HSC exam results be given no or less weight in the university admission test process as the government is awarding candidates grades without holding the public exams.
The regulatory body of higher education, expected to hold a virtual meeting today with vice chancellors of public universities, is also likely to place another proposal as an alternative -- that grades of SSC exams be given more weight.
The meeting is expected to discuss the progress of ongoing online education at public universities, in place of in-person classes during the continuing closure of educational institutions due to the pandemic. It will also discuss the first-year admission tests at public universities for the upcoming academic session.
"We will sit with VCs of public universities on Thursday [today]. We will make different proposals regarding the weightage of HSC GPAs in the university admission process for the upcoming academic session," UGC member Prof Dil Afroza Begum told The Daily Star.
When the government decided on October 7 to cancel this year's Higher Secondary School Certificate and equivalent exams due to concerns over transmission risk amid the pandemic, it led to confusion among candidates about the admission process of public universities.
Instead of the exams, candidates' evaluation would be based on their results in the Junior School Certificate, Secondary School Certificate and equivalent tests.
The evaluation of the candidates would be published by December this year.
HSC and equivalent exams, originally slated for April 1, were postponed on March 22 out of fear that they would increase coronavirus transmission. More than 13.65 lakh students were expected to sit for the exams.
The government postponed the exams following the closure of all educational institutions on March 17. They are to stay closed until at least October 30.
Prof Dil Afroza Begum said that in normal times, universities took the GPA of SSC and HSC exams into account, alongside admission tests. But this year is different, so they are looking for some alternatives.
She said as one of the alternatives, UGC will propose that HSC results should not carry any weight in the admission process.
"Another option will be that SSC results will carry more weight than that of HSC exams," she added. "But all these will be finalised if public universities VCs and teachers accept the proposals."
Many were uncertain about whether admission tests would be held after the government's cancellation of the HSC exams, but Dil Afroze and other UGC members said they were strongly in favour of taking the admission tests.
"We can hold exams like SAT or GRE or GMAT. We will set questions in such a way that none can raise questions about the process," she added.
Dil Afroze and another UGC member, Muhammed Alamgir, both said they are going to introduce centralised admission tests at public universities this year.
It would help them reduce the number of exams for candidates, said Alamgir.
UGC in February decided to introduce the new system titled "Central Admission Test" for the 2020-2021 academic year to reduce the hassle of admission seekers.
Five universities -- Dhaka University, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), Rajshahi University, Jahangirnagar University and Chittagong University -- have not shown any interest in the new system.
Top UGC officials said they hope that these universities will join the system considering the situation created by the pandemic.
When contacted DU Pro-vice Chancellor Prof Muhammad Samad and JU Professor Md Amir Hussain both said they need to discuss the matter with their academic council and other forums before finalising anything.