Degree colleges irked as Christmas vacation may be cut to 1 day

Christmas vacation may be reduced to one day for teaching, non-teaching staff and students of degree colleges, said officials of the University of Mumbai (MU) on Saturday. Degree colleges will get an off on December 25, 2020 on account of Christmas. But the regular online classes, winter semester examinations and assessment will continue in order to avoid any delay in the academic year, according to MU.

Teachers of degree colleges affiliated to MU are irked with the reduction of Christmas vacation from seven days to one day.

Geeta Mahajan, a professor of a college in Kurla said, "Our assigned holidays of Diwali vacation were reduced this year and now, we might not get the Christmas vacation as well. We have been conducting regular online lectures every day without a break."

Marie Fernandes, principal of St Andrew's College, Bandra, said, "As discussed with MU officials, the Christmas vacation might be reduced to one day for now. We have requested the examination committee of the MU to grant more leaves so that teachers, staff and students get a break. But on the other hand, we still have pending syllabus to complete which means teachers will have to work continuously in December before the start of winter semester examinations."

A senior official of MU said, "Degree colleges need to conduct winter semester examinations online by December-end and mid-January for certain programmes. Colleges need to complete the syllabus on time and conduct practicals too. We have reduced the Christmas break to one day in order to avoid any further delay as the academic year has already been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation."

Allwyn D'Souza, a professor said, "Generally, colleges break for Christmas holiday from December 24 till January 2. But this year, due to the shift to online mode of education, the entire academic year has been compromised." Rita Gomes, another professor said, "If not regular lectures, we will have to spend our Christmas break conducting winter semester exams or assessing answer papers."

The MU has instructed all affiliated degree colleges and universities to conduct winter semester examinations of arts, commerce and science programmes by December 31, 2020, and complete the examinations of engineering, architecture, pharmacy and Master of Computer Applications (MCA) professional courses by January 15, 2021.

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