Public universities across Bangladesh can resume in-person classes any day after 27 September, which is the deadline for students, teachers, officers and staff of all such institutions to get registered for Covid-19 inoculation.
In a virtual meeting on Tuesday with vice-chancellors of public universities and officials of the University Grants Commission (UGC), Education Minister Dipu Moni said those who do not have a national identity card, will be able to register for the vaccine with their birth certificate.
The academic councils of public universities will decide on the reopening date of their respective institutions after this registration process is complete, sources present at the meeting told The Business Standard (TBS).
The UGC will provide a web portal link to learners so they can get registered as students, and then they will have to register for inoculation on the Surokkha app. Once registered on Surokkha, students can get inoculated at designated medical centres at their respective universities.
Providing more details, UGC member Prof Dr Biswajit Chandra said, "Reopening the universities without proper vaccination is a risky move, and hence we have set a deadline for completing the registration process.
"I am optimistic every university will be able to resume in-person classes from 15 October."
Shahjalal University of Science and Technology's Vice-Chancellor, Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed, said, "Ninety percent of my students and teachers have received the Covid-19 inoculation. We will complete this process before 27 September and hold an academic council meeting for setting up a reopening date by then."
Public universities will reopen hostels once residential students are inoculated. Final year graduate and undergraduate level students will be allowed into the hostels first. After that, other non-residential students will be allowed on campus gradually.
Primary, secondary, and higher secondary, educational institutions reopened from 12 September across the country, while medical colleges reopened on 13 September.
Public universities taking online exams since July
Many public universities, including Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, and Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, started holding online final examinations since July to do away with the session jam triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Public universities took the initiative after 15 months of closure imposed as part of health safety restrictions.
On 6 May, the UGC issued a guideline for public universities so they could hold examinations following international standard modules.
The guideline notes that the exam committee members of respective departments have to use Google Classroom to hold exams, using institutional E-mail IDs. Visually impaired students would get an extra minutes 10 for the exams.
Students must use their roll numbers instead of their names on the Zoom platform and have to join at least 15 minutes before the exams. Their device's video must be switched on, they must write on A4 size paper, give their roll and page numbers on every page.
At the end of the exams, students must scan or take photos of their answer sheets and upload them on the same "Assignment" section of Google Classroom. An examinee can upload one file only during a particular session.
Bangladesh at present has 53 public universities and 107 private universities. As many as 40 lakh students are studying in these higher educational institutions across the country. The number of teachers is about 1.5 lakh.
Of them, more than 1 lakh teach at the National University and other affiliated colleges, while around 30,000 teach at other public and private universities.