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 expect committee, set up for revising the academic calendar in view of 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 had in April 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 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 guidelines said.
"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," it added.
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 the novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to declare the results of compartment exams as soon as possible and coordinate with the University Grants Commission (UGC) to enable around two lakh students passing out in these exams to apply in colleges in the current academic year.
A bench of the apex court, headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, asked the UGC and the CBSE to take a joint decision on declaration of results and admissions in colleges for students giving compartment exams and posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday.
During the hearing, advocate Apoorv Kurup appearing for the UGC, told the bench that cut off date for admission in colleges is most likely in October end and if CBSE declares the result of compartment exams before that, students will be able to take admissions.
Senior advocate Vivek Tankha, appearing for a group of students, told the bench that the compartment exams are today and they finish on September 29. "If we give the exams but we can't get the admissions in colleges, there will be no point," he added.
Tankha said that the CBSE should come out of the exam results soon and sought that the UGC should accommodate students, who have given compartment exams, in the academic calendar.
(With inputs from Agencies)