Yangyel Lhaden

Colleges under the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) will conduct their semester-end examinations before September.

Clarifying doubts and uncertainties among students, the Vice Chancellor of RUB, Nidup Dorji said exams will be held under any circumstances. “Semester-end examination will take place, rain or shine.”

Earlier, a Task Force for Online Learning and Teaching (TFoLT) has recommended two scenarios colleges could follow if colleges and schools re-open. According to scenario one, regular classes would begin by June 1 and semester exam would be held from July 6-18. In scenario two, regular classes would start from July 1 and end semester exam from August 3-15.

If the two scenarios as recommended by the TFoLT cannot take place, TFoLT was to meet again and decide on a third plan to recommend a way forward.

The recommendations of the task force that was shared informally on social media created confusion among students, especially after the third plan had not specified and students assumed that there would be no exams.

The Vice Chancellor clarified that two scenarios were considered if colleges could be opened by June or July.

In the third plan, unlike the two scenarios, the semester-end exam will directly take place, he said. The Vice Chancellor said there are various aspect and strategy to be considered before a final decision can be made. “If colleges cannot open by July, one thing is definite, the third plan to do some form of examination would be discussed and will take place,” he said.

The Vice Chancellor assured that there was no reason for confusion among students regarding semester-end exam. “Students will be informed beforehand formally when a decision is taken,” he said. “The confusion might be among students who are expecting to pass through internal assessment without having to do examination,” he said.

The Vice Chancellor said that no students would be promoted to next semester without doing the semester-end exams. “The quality of education cannot be compromised by promoting students without semester-end exam. The purpose of the exam is to check if students are eligible for next semester.”

“If we don’t know basic addition and subtraction, how would we know calculus? In the same way, if the minimum threshold of learning outcome is not achieved by the students, they won’t be able to cope up in the following semester,” he said.

“If the recommendations of two scenarios by TFoLT can be implemented, it would be in favour of RUB, since the one month face-to-face class will make up for the missed practical classes and doubts on theory lessons can be covered,” the Vice Chancellor said.

But extraordinary time requires extraordinary measures to tackle it in an intelligent way, he said. “So, students should prepare beforehand to confront any decisions made by RUB.”

If the third option is discussed and implemented, the examination on the practical component will have to be compromised for final year student, he said, for other semester students the important key element of some practical of current semester will be incorporated in the next semester.

If the situation favours amidst the pandemic, he said, final year students would be called back to colleges to do the semester-end exam. The physical distancing norm and the directive from Ministry of Health would be implemented, he said.

RUB decided to pay university students stipend from day one of the closure of colleges to access online classes. The government also provided extra data package, he said.

“If the students utilised it and made the best use of it, there shouldn’t be a problem to do semester-end exam either in colleges or online, the Vice Chancellor said.