The University Grants Commission (UGC) is going to formulate a plan to recover learning losses of public university students across the country.
A committee will be formed soon to make a guideline on the recovery plan, which will be provided to universities before educational institutions are reopened.
UGC member Professor Dr Md Alamgir told The Business Standard the recovery plan also aims at curbing session jam.
He said they would formulate the plan but universities would implement it based on their circumstances.
The plan would definitely help students with their future studies, he added.
UGC sources said the plan would comprise four categories of institutions – general universities, such as the University of Dhaka, engineering universities, science and technology universities, and agricultural universities.
A virtual meeting with Education Minister Dipu Moni in the chair was held on Monday. The meeting also emphasised preparing a recovery plan and gave universities formal approval to hold in-person and online examinations.
Professor Farid Uddin Ahmed, vice-chancellor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, described the recovery plan as a good initiative.
He said universities need a plan to reduce session jam and recover learning losses caused by Covid-19.
"Our university has decided to hold examinations from 15 June. We will launch a blended system as we will run academic activities both in person and online," he said.
He further said, "After we reopen, the academic council of our university is going to make a decision on cancelling vacations and other leaves of both teachers and students. We will make up for students' learning losses somehow."
There are 46 public universities in the country that have more than three lakh students and 16,000 teachers.
Meanwhile, the University of Dhaka has asked teachers to reduce the length of semesters from six months to four months to check session jam.
"Students have lost more than a year due to the pandemic. We will hold examinations online as lectures have already been delivered," Professor AKM Maksud Kamal, pro-vice-chancellor of the university, told The Business Standard.
"We will reopen the university after vaccinating all residential students and teachers. The length of our next semester will be four months instead of six and teachers will submit their plan soon. We will make a final schedule after getting the UGC's recovery plan," he said.
Although educational activities continued online amid the pandemic, most students could not attend lectures due to costly data packages, a lack of digital devices, including smartphones and laptops, and the unavailability of internet connections.
The situation of online classes was unsatisfactory at almost all public universities, including the University of Dhaka, with education experts and teachers saying students had faced a digital divide.
Professor Mizanur Rahman, director of the Directorate of Students' Welfare at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), said Buet was thinking about preparing a crash programme to recover learning losses.
He said the UGC's guideline would help them prepare the crash programme.
Students of public universities have been waiting to sit their final examinations for more than a year. Educational institutions remain closed since March last year due to the pandemic.
Private universities have been arranging lectures and holding examinations online since April 2020. Most public universities began holding online classes in July, four months after Covid-19 had broken out in the country.
Psychologists and educationists think students are getting depressed due to uncertainty over completing their studies and starting their professional life.