The University Grants Commission (UGC) has updated the academic calendar for the session of 2020-21. According to the new calendar, the first-year classes for undergraduate and postgraduate students shall now commence from the first week of November. The Commission has also urged the universities to complete the admission process by the end of October. Its guidelines also said that in case of cancellation of admissions and migration of students, full refund of fees ought to be made.
Following is the entire academic calendar for the 2020-21 session. It was tweeted by the Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Tuesday September 22, 2020.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission has accepted the Report of the Committee and approved the @ugc_india Guidelines on Academic Calendar for the First Year of Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Students of the Universities for the Session 2020-21.
Suggested calendar👇 pic.twitter.com/JPYNhiWb0k
— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) September 22, 2020
Education has been quite turbulent amidst these extraordinary circumstances and this rampant decision testifies the same. Though comprehensible to the layperson, this updated calendar still complicates matters for colleges. Plus, the new first year batch will also end up without a summer or winter break until next year. UGC has also asked the universities to follow a six-day pattern for the same reasons. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the loss of academic time due to the pandemic.
The University of Mumbai had conducted admissions to first year undergraduate course batches in July and August only. Many more colleges had filled all their vacancies by the end of August itself. Hence, this new calendar has left most colleges on a stand-still. “The previous UGC guidelines had scheduled start of the new academic year for all batches as September 2020, so colleges did exactly that and started lectures online. The University of Mumbai had also suggested the same so now we don’t know how these new guidelines will be implemented,” said Marie Fernandes, principal St Andrew’s College, Bandra.
Some colleges are also worried that the first-year calendar will clash with those of the other years. The vice-principal of a suburban college said the following. “We’ve scheduled first semester exams for our second and third year batches in December 2020-January 2021. We aim to finish the final semester exams by May 2021. But the UGC circular for first year batches is suggesting first and second semester exams in March and July respectively, which means our teachers will be working on examinations for the next entire year, which is unfair to them too.”
On March 16, 2020, the Centre had announced a countrywide classroom shutdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. Ever since then, the wide expanse of education has been changed all over the world. With such sudden decisions coming into force almost everyday, we hope that the Centre will cooperate with the educational institutions, as the latter adjust to the new normal.