State Government Provides Legal Framework for Virtual Courses and Exams

January 15th, 2021 | by

As in the 2020 summer semester, the Ministry of Culture and Science has issued another special University Ordinance on the Coronavirus Epidemic to provide the legal framework for universities to allow students to successfully pursue their studies despite the stresses and adverse conditions caused by the virus. According to a press release, the new ordinance will adapt the regulations for courses and exams at universities to the requirements of the current winter semester 2020/2021, which is now primarily conducted virtually. For example, the standard period of study will again be extended by one semester. Among other things, the free attempt regulation in the event of a failed examination will also be reintroduced. To provide students and universities with security in their future planning, the new University Ordinance on the Coronavirus Epidemic will apply to the current winter semester and the 2021 summer semester, remaining in effect until October 1, 2021.

“The Coronavirus pandemic poses great challenges for everyone; it demands a great deal of flexibility and willingness from universities and students to adapt. The goal of the state government is to ensure as much as possible that students are not disadvantaged as they pursue their studies under these conditions. Due to the continued high rates of infection and to allow everyone to make secure plans, we have therefore already decided to extend the new University Ordinance’s effective period to include the 2021 summer semester,” says Science Minister Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen.

With the new University Ordinance on the Coronavirus Epidemic, the state government continues to provide universities with the necessary and now updated regulations for teaching and exams: In particular, free attempts and withdrawals from exams will again be made possible across the board. They may, however, be subject to other regulations by the respective rectorates. In addition, the state government has again increased the individualized standard period of study by one semester for the 2020/2021 winter semester. With this increase, the state creates the prerequisite for the BAföG maximum period of entitlement to be extended by one semester. The new ordinance also makes it possible for university bodies and student bodies in North Rhine-Westphalia to hold elections using online procedures.

The new University Ordinance on the Coronavirus Epidemic can be found in German here:

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