New Delhi: The delayed academic session for freshers in universities and colleges will begin from November 1, and the winter break this year, the summer vacation in 2021 and other holidays would be curtailed to compensate for the time lost, according to the University Grants Commission.
The guidelines by an expert committee, set up for revising the academic calendar in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, have been accepted by the UGC and accordingly universities have been recommended a six-day teaching learning schedule every week.
"In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission has accepted the Report of the Committee and approved the UGC Guidelines on Academic Calendar for the First Year of Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Students of the Universities for the Session 2020-21," Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank' tweeted.
The UGC in April had released an alternative academic calendar for colleges to reopen, with guidelines on exams, mode of study and the schedule.
At that time, the plan was to reopen colleges from September, but it could not materialise due to a continuing surge in coronavirus cases.
As per the revised calendar, the admission process for first year students needs to be completed by October 31 and classes for the first semester should commence by November 1.
In order to compensate for the loss of academic time, the UGC has asked colleges to teach six days a week and shorten the winter break this year and the summer break next year.
"The universities are requested to compensate the delay in the start of academic session in the subsequent years by curtailing the breaks/vacations so that this batch of students would get their final results for award of degree timely," the guidelines said.
"The start of the first year of the academic session 2020-2021 is delayed due to the circumstances beyond control but efforts should be made to compensate for the loss of this period by curtailing the breaks (Summer, Winter, etc). This would ensure that these students would timely complete their 3 year UG/ PG programme," the UGC guidelines said.
"All the universities may follow a six-day week pattern for the academic session 2020-21 and 2021-2022 to compensate the loss for this batch of students," it added.
The UGC has said that in order to avoid financial hardship being faced by the parents due to the lockdown and related factors, full refund of fees be made on account of all cancellation of admissions or migration of students, up to November 30, 2020, for this very session as a special case.
"To be crystal clear, the entire fees, including all charges, be refunded in totality (zero Cancellation charges) on account of cancellation or migration up to November 30, 2020. Therefore, on cancellation or withdrawal of admissions up to December 31, the entire fee collected from a student will be refunded in full after deduction of not more than Rs 1,000 as processing fee," the guidelines said.
Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16 when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.