Universities in Dubai will be accepting students for the September 2021 intake on the basis of their school-assessed grades and not the final Grade XII board results, which could be published as late as September, officials said.
Michael Lawson, regional director – recruitment, Heriot-Watt University Dubai, said: “We recognise that this is an unprecedented step. However, these are unprecedented times that call for change. Therefore, to support our community of parents and students, we will be making admissions decisions based on school assessed grades.”
School-assessed grades include those during mock exams or pre-boards, as well as teacher-predicted scores. “We believe these are a good indicator of student performance, based on which we are able to make an informed decision,” added Lawson.
He further said that if a student is unable to maintain the school-assessed grades in the final results awarded by the board, the university “would neither downgrade nor retract our study offer”.
“Across the world, governments, education boards, schools, parents and children are grappling with when and how to approach the next phase in their education. Given that these challenges are far from over, the majority of education boards have either cancelled or delayed their final exams,” he said.
Final board exams such as those for India’s CBSE Grade 12 have been postponed as a Covid safety measure. The exams are to be held, if at all, after the Covid situation is “reviewed” on June 1.
“This will likely result in a delay as far as September for the final scores to be awarded. By offering admissions based on predicted grades, we believe it will make the transition to higher education smoother and less stressful for prospective students and their families,” Lawson said.
Other varsity heads also indicate that predicted grades will be considered alongside other information and results that universities will be able to get from students and their schools.
Dr Vikas Nand Kumar Batheja, co-founder & director, Capital University College, opined: “Students can join on the basis of their school-assessed grades and/or predicted grades. We as educators must ensure that this pandemic should not affect students’ education and future. At Capital University College, we believe every student who wishes to pursue higher education must be given an opportunity to do so and we have various pathways for high school students to pursue their goals.”
He added: “Should a student not do well at high school, then one must choose alternative pathways to eventually graduate from a reputed university. Our job as educators is to create and highlight these pathways and opportunities available for students and to support them in their journey of achieving their dreams.”
Universities agree that modifying admission processes to avoid potential delays is the way forward for everyone.
Dr Vajahat Hussain, Amity Education ME CEO, said: “Uncontrollable external factors should not affect a student’s University admissions; our admission teams are working closely with every individual applicant to review their academic history, extra-circulars and other notable achievements. Adapting to change has become an essential part of providing the best education to students.”
Nahid Afshan, senior manager-admissions, BITS Pilani Dubai Campus, said: “This is an unprecedented time and we are looking at ways to adapt to the situation by making the admission process completely online and as quick as possible. Admission to Engineering programmes at BITS Pilani, Dubai, is based only on the merit of the student in the qualifying Grade 12 examination from recognised school boards. “This year we will continue to offer admissions based on the results/grades declared by the various high school boards as per their evaluation criteria which will be evidence-based and approved by the respective school boards.”
Admission offices said that since results are delayed this year, students have been given the option of provisional admission to ensure admission in the programme of their choice and being able to commence the course on time. “Admission will be confirmed upon the declaration of the final results and if students meet the minimum eligibility requirement of admission to the programme as specified by the institute,” added Afshan.