With uncertainty looming over the 2020-2021 academic session of schools in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, former Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Sunday said either all students barring those in Class 12 be promoted or an internal assessment mechanism be put in place to save children in class 10 and other levels from examination stress.

The senior Congress leader also suggested that courses can be reduced both in schools and universities and the teaching time lost in the 2020-21 session due to the pandemic could be made up in the next year with the extra effort from both the teacher and student communities.

Various universities will also have to take a decision on whether or not to delay the academic session and they have the autonomy to take a call and a decision cannot be forced on them, Sibal told PTI in an interview.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued guidelines to universities that the new academic session for freshers will begin from September while for the existing students from August.

However, it has said the guidelines are advisory in nature and varsities may chalk out their own plans according to the COVID-19 pandemic prevailing in their areas.

Asked about the uncertainty looming large over the 2020-21 academic session in schools which are shut and holding online classes, Sibal said going forward there could be two options that can be considered for school students barring those in Class 12.

One way is to promote everybody and take some extra classes when the pandemic is over as well as ensure students complete their course in the next class, Sibal said.

“The other way is that if you are confident that your teachers will make an objective assessment of the student community which a majority of them might, then you leave it to them and the school to make the internal assessment and promote those to Class 11 who have done well (or to the next class for students of other classes),” he said, asserting that it would save the students from the examination stress.