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Photo: Hindustan Times
Photo: Hindustan Times

Virus alters academic calendar

  • To compensate for the learning loss and delayed start of the academic year, the newly enrolled students in the first year of undergraduate and postgraduate-level of universities are unlikely to get summer vacation

First-year classes in technical education institutions and specialized distance education courses will start in December, 2-4 months later than usual, but the institutions and regulators are working to boost learning hours to help students mitigate the covid-related setback.

“Due to prolonged emergent conditions and requests from various states and ongoing admission process of llTs and NITs, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has extended the last date of admission to first-year engineering courses to 30 November. Accordingly, the last date of commencement of classes of the first year is 1 December," the technical education regulator wrote to institutions.

At technical schools, fresh students usually join in July; however, the coronavirus pandemic delayed admission tests such as Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), calling for a delayed start to admissions.

The concession, however, does not extend to management schools under AICTE jurisdiction, and the council has asked them to stick to their education calendar, without waiting till December.

Similarly, higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) on Wednesday said in a note that it has received representations from colleges and universities. Based on such appeals, a UGC notification said, “UGC has extended the last date for completion of admission process in ODL (open and distance learning) and online mode for September-October academic session of 2020 from 31 October to 30 November."

To compensate for the learning loss and delayed start of the academic year, the newly enrolled students in the first year of undergraduate and postgraduate-level of universities are unlikely to get summer vacation, a government official said on condition of anonymity.

General colleges and universities, where classes for freshly enrolled students have started or are starting in November, have been given a revised academic calendar and their first-semester assessment will take place after the first week of March and end by 26 March 2021, and the second semester shall start from April first week, and the exams or assessments shall be completed between 9 August and 21 August, the government official said.

This means the next academic year of these students will start by end August or early September, effectively a month-and-a-half late in 2021.

“The loss of months and admission season delay in 2020 will have a cascading impact on the freshly admitted students, which comprise 25-40% of college enrolments," a second government official said on condition of anonymity, adding the UGC has asked colleges to allow students take a full refund if they cancel their admission in one college and go to another due to several factors, including choice of subjects they wish to pursue.


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