The academic session shall now begin from November for first-year students with a six-day week schedule with no summer or winter break Credit: Representational image

Guwahati: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released a new notification of revising the academic calendar for first-year college and university students of undergraduate and postgraduate courses for the session 2020-21.

As per the new tentative calendar issued by the UGC, the academic session shall now begin from November for first-year students and the delay will also push the next academic session further ahead.

Also, if the Union ministry of home affairs does not allow physical reopening of schools and colleges by November, freshers will begin their college education online.

The UGC had, earlier in April, released an academic calendar for colleges, also specifying guidelines on exams that universities conduct their final-year or terminal semester examination from July 1 to July 15, mode of study and the schedule to reopen.

It was stated, at that time that the plan was to reopen colleges in September, but owing to the rise in number of COVID-19 cases, the session has been delayed until November.

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To compensate for lost time, the UGC has directed colleges and universities to conduct classes six days in a week, and any summer or winter break shall be scrapped for the two upcoming academic sessions.

“The start of first year of academic session 2020-2021 is delayed due to the circumstances beyond control but efforts be made to compensate 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 mention in its recent directive.

It added, “All the universities may follow a 6-day week pattern for the academic session 2020-21 and 2021-2022 to compensate the loss for this batch of students.”

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“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,” education minister Pokhriyal tweeted.

Minister Pokhriyal also added that full refund will be made for cancellation of admissions or migration of students till November 30 to avoid financial distress faced by parents due to lockdown or related factors.

“To avoid financial hardship being faced by the parents due to lockdown and related factors, a full refund of fees will be made on account of all cancellation of admissions/ migration of students, up to 30.11.2020, for this very session as a special case,” he said.

On cancellation/ withdrawal of admissions up to December 31, 2020, the entire fee collected from a student will be refunded in full after deduction of not more than Rs 1,000 as processing fee.

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