UGC gives green light for educational institutions to reopen

Hyderabad: After a long wait, graduate and post-graduate colleges are all set to reopen from with the University Grants Commission (UGC) finally giving the green signal for the same. While the UGC, in its guidelines, has set November 1 as the date for commencement of classes for varsities, institutions where admissions are solely through entrance tests (where necessary requirements are completed) have also been permitted to begin the academic session for first-year students at the earliest. 

Given the exponential rise in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in India, the UGH had to revise its guidelines twice, and issued the latest one this month, under which higher education institutions have been permitted to finally reopen their colleges, albeit with certain conditions. In fact, the UGC has said that institutions can also made provisional admissions until December 2020 by seeking the relevant documents of qualifying exams.

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Usually in Telangana and Hyderabad, the academic year begins from June onwards for graduation courses in colleges after intermediate exam results are announced. This year however, the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow for that, and even second and finally year students have been only attending online classes (via apps like Zoom).

However, it is unclear if colleges in Hyderabad will immediately restart classes, given that both managements and parents will be mindful of students and teachers risking infection. 

Six-day academic week 

The latest UGC guidelines have also stipulated that universities may follow a six-day week pattern for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years to compensate for the loss of study days, for students who get enrolled this year.

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In fact, keeping in mind financial hardships caused due to COVID-19, the UGC has also said that a full refund of fees must be made on account of all cancellations of admissions/migration of students till November year. 

The statutory body also stressed on the need to have social and physical distancing mandatorily for all modes of teaching and entrance examinations. While varsities like Osmania (OU) and University of Hyderabad are expected to follow the stated dates, several colleges affiliated to OU may finally reopen and have classes, given that the academic year has been terribly disrupted. 

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