UGC accepts the guidelines by an expert committee set up for revising the academic calendar in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
Students entering colleges and universities will begin classes from November 1, with the new academic session getting off to a delayed start, according to the University Grants Commission’s calendar for 2020-21, which was released on Tuesday. Holiday breaks will be curtailed and classes will run six days a week to compensate for the time lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UGC approved the guidelines for the new academic calendar for first year students of both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at its meeting on Monday. The admissions schedule has been delayed by the fact that schools and colleges were shut in mid-March due to the COVID lockdown, and board examinations as well as entrance examinations for professional courses such as medicine and engineering have been postponed multiple times.
The delays have also caused admission cancellations and migration of students. In a statement, the Education Ministry directed that in order to avoid financial hardships being faced by parents due to the lockdown and economic recession, there will be a full refund of fees made in such cases. “On cancellation/withdrawal of admissions up to 31 December, 2020, the entire fee collected from a student be refunded in full after deduction of not more than ₹1000 as processing fee,” said the statement. This is a special measure for this academic year only, it added.
The admissions process will now be completed by the end of October, although institutions will have one more month to fill up any remaining vacant seats. Classes for the first semester will begin on November 1 and run till the end of February 2021 without any winter break. The teaching-learning process will continue in offline, online or blended mode as is currently happening for second and third year students, depending on continuing COVID restrictions.
Students will then get one week off to prepare for first semester exams, which are due to be held from March 8-26. Following a one-week vacation, the second semester will begin on April 5 and continue till the end of July. Second semester examinations will be held from August 9 to 21, and the rest of that month will serve as a shortened summer break. The next academic year for this batch will begin from August 30, 2021.