The National Law University consortium of vice-chancellors (VCs), which has mainly been responsible for running the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), has decided that “there is no compelling academic reason to bring back batches graduating in 2021”.
The consortium said that it was making the statement as Coronavirus numbers have begun to spike again, especially in states such as Kerala and Maharashtra.
Several NLUs had also indicated that they had plans to re-open for physical classes earlier this month or early next month, as discussed in conversations on Legally India.
While stopping short of any binding edicts (which in any case, might be outside the power of the consortium), the consortium’s statement sends a strong message of the a standard course that NLUs have said they would take.
“As the NLUs have no requirements for laboratory and in person simulation extinct,” noted the statement.
Furthermore, not having physical classes would cause “no disruption of the academic calendar in 2021”, the consortium added in the statement.
“It is in the best interest of all Universities to reopen safely rather than quickly in a manner that minimises the loss of life or possible long term medical damage to faculty, students and the University community,” the consortium said.
Full consortium statement
The Governing Body of the Consortium of National Law Universities comprising of 22 Vice-Chancellors met on 22nd February, 2021 to take stock of the recent developments with the Corona Virus Pandemic and to review the possibility of reopening the Universities and Hostels in March 2021.
The Governing Body while acknowledged that nationally Covid 19 cases have been declined, but in the last week there has been an alarming increase in cases in few States in India including Maharashtra and Kerala.
Moreover there has been several cluster outbreaks in large residential complexes and University hostels across the country. As vaccination for Covid 19 is yet unavailable to students and faculty, a full reopening of physical classes and hostels would pose extremely high medical risks to students, faculty and the University Community. Hence, the Universities are likely to make limited arrangements to cope with adverse circumstances that a few students face.
The University Grants Commission guidelines, the Government of India and State Government Regulations to Universities to make a single decision applicable to all NLUs is not feasible. Hence, individual Universities must take stock of their existing infrastructure arrangements, maintenance and medical services and local conditions before announcing any decision to open up their Universities in a phased manner. As the NLUs have no requirements for laboratory and in person simulation extinct, there is no compelling academic reason to bring back batches graduating in 2021.
As all the Universities have made arrangements to continue online delivery of the academic programme, there will be no disruption of the academic calendar in 2021. It is in the best interest of all Universities to reopen safely rather than quickly in a manner that minimises the loss of life or possible long term medical damage to faculty, students and the University community. The General Body also resolved to again review the situation in the first week of the March. The Universities that have not yet announced reopening have been advised to wait for few more days.