Published weekly, the COVID-19 Impact on South and South-East Asian students highlights news drawn from various sources focusing on South and South-East Asian students who are studying abroad and the ones who aspire to study abroad during the times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This edition of the COVID-19 Impact covers news articles from March 1, 2021 – March 15, 2021

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South Asia


China silent on permitting return of Indian, international students

9th March 2021 | The Economic Times

China gave no timeline and continued to be ambivalent about permitting thousands of Indian and overseas students studying in Chinese universities to return from their countries after following all COVID-19 protocols, including vaccinations. Thousands of international students from India and other countries studying in Chinese universities are unable to return to China since March last year due to travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic. In an open letter in January, the students had appealed to the Chinese government to lift the travel ban and permit them to return to resume their studies, saying they would observe all the COVID-19 protocols, including the necessary tests and quarantine procedures. Citing COVID-19 restrictions, China has been advising the students to continue with the online classes. The students, however, said that with the majority of them studying science subjects they need access to laboratories.

Ireland extends post-study rules for Indian students who have been studying online

5th March 2021 | Tribune India

The Irish government has announced that international students in Ireland will be permitted to access graduate work opportunities in the country, even if they have been studying remotely in semester II. Indian students will be welcome to apply for the country’s Third Level Graduate Programme, even if they have been studying remotely in semester. To access the scheme, students will need to provide a letter from their higher education institution stating that they were a student for the academic year 2020/2021. This news means Indian students across Ireland can continue to enjoy excellent internship and career opportunities in the country.

Exam Updates

Delhi University Open Book Exams begin

15th March 2021 | News 18

The University of Delhi (DU) will hold the semester-I exams for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses as well as professional programmes of all streams including third-semester exams for its students from March 15. Despite facing glitches in OBE December 2020 exams, the varsity will hold the March 2021 exams too in OBE (open book exam) mode where students have the flexibility of attempting exams from their own place of convenience. As per reports, about 250 thousand candidates are expected to take the exams.

Mumbai University releases Entrance Exams schedule for MPhil, PhD courses

13th March 2021 | NDTV

The University of Mumbai (MU) has released the schedule of the entrance examination to be held for PhD, MPhil programmes at the official website, mu.ac.in. As per the time-table, the examination will be conducted from March 25 to 27 in an online mode for a total of 79 subjects. The MPhil entrance examination will be held on March 25, and the PhD entrance test will be conducted on March 26 and 27 in multiple shifts.

JEE Main March 2021 exam dates revised

13th March 2021 | Republic World

The National Testing Agency (NTA) is all set to conduct the second cycle of JEE Main 2021 in March. NTA has also released the JEE Main March admit card 2021 for candidates who are appearing for the exam. The JEE Main March exam is rescheduled and is on March 16, 17 and 18. Hence, the IIT entrance exam that was supposed to begin on March 15 will begin on March 16. Moreover, the exam that was earlier scheduled to be held for four days will now be held for only three days.

NEET 2021: NTA announces exam date

12th March 2021 | India TV

NEET (UG) 2021 will be conducted in 11 languages, including Hindi and English through Pen and Paper mode on August 1, 2021. The NEET (UG) 2021 is going to be conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to MBBS, BDS, BAMS, BSMS, BUMS and BHMS courses. The Result of NEET (UG) – 2021 may be utilized by other Entities of Central/State Governments (including Indian Nursing Council/ Nursing Colleges/ Schools, JIPMER) for counselling/admission to relevant courses [including B.Sc. (Nursing) and B.Sc. (Life Sciences)] in accordance with their rules/norms/guidelines.

ICSE, ISC board exams dates revised

8th March 2021 | The Indian Express

The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) revised the date sheet for ISC and ICSE exams. As per the revised timetable, for class 10, no exam was scheduled on May 13 and 15. While, for class 12, no exam was scheduled on May 13, 15 and June 12. ISC was scheduled from April 8 to June 16, while ICSE from May 5 to June 7. To pass the ICSE exam, students need to score 33 marks while to clear the ISC exam, students need to have at least 40 per cent marks in each subject as well as aggregate.

JEE Main 2021 results declared

8th March 2021 | India

The NTA has declared the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main Result 2021 on March 8. Students can check their JEE Main Result 2021 on the official website – jeemain.nta.nic.in or nta.ac.in.

CBSE revises Class 10, 12 exam dates

6th March 2021 | Indian Express

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) revised the dates for classes 10 and 12 exams. The dates for the class 12 physics paper and applied physics are shifted from May 13 to June 1. Besides, the dates for History and Banking papers have also been revised. Similarly, the class 10 mathematics paper will be held on June 2 instead of May 21 as per the revised date sheet, including other various subjects. The date sheet is available on the website- cbse.gov.in. The board exams will be held from May 4 to June 1

YouTube Discussions

Know all about studying in the UK from a student’s perspective | Study Abroad Insights Season 3

4th March 2021 | IDP Education

In this session meet UK destination expert getting into a detailed conversation with a student currently pursuing an MSc in Data Science from the University of Surrey. They have shared their views and opinions on opportunities available in the UK for international students. This session shares insights and answers queires of students and parents with clarity on studying abroad in the UK. Watch Video


Exam Updates

Dhaka University admissions 2021: Online applications suspended due to website glitch

11th March 2021 | Dhaka Tribune

The online application process for undergraduate courses at Dhaka University (DU) in the 2020-21 academic session has been suspended till March 15. The move comes following several technical issues, including glitches in the admission website. According to sources, following the inauguration of the online admission application process on March 8, students faced a lot of problems while trying to access the DU website.

Rajshahi University entrance exams to begin from June 14

1st March 2021 | Dhaka Tribune

The three-day entrance exams for the first-year honours classes in the 2020-2021 academic session of Rajshahi University (RU) will start from June 14. According to the university, online registration for the admission test is set to begin from March 7 and would continue till March 18. Upon completing the scrutinizing process of the preliminary application, the qualified students would have to submit the final application between March 23 to March 31. The university will allow 135,000 students from the three units to sit for the entrance exam.


Exam Updates

Tribhuvan University exam centers to be equipped with CC cameras

4th March 2021 | My Republica

Tribhuvan University (TU) will now install closed circuit (CC) cameras at all its exam centers. TU directed all its exam centers to install CC cameras before April 2 this year. If any center fails to connect the security cameras as per the direction, they will not be allowed to hold TU exams in the upcoming days, according to TU. TU aims at enhancing reliability and transparency of the yearly examinations through this new provision.

Sri Lanka

Exam Updates

Evaluation of GCE Ordinary Level question papers will begin on March 27

11th March 2021 | Colombo Page

Evaluation of GCE Ordinary Level question papers will begin on March 27 and practical examinations for aesthetic subjects are expected to begin in May said the Minister of Education. The Minister made this statement after participating in an inspection tour of a center where the GCE Ordinary Level Examination was held. GCE Ordinary Level Examination results are expected to be out around June, 2021.

Southeast Asia


MOE urged to carefully rethink school reopening in light of growing school cases and clusters

10th March 2021 | New Straits Times

The public has urged the authorities to re-examine the wide-scale reopening of schools, following the emergence of Covid-19 cases and clusters in the facilities which reopened in the first week of March. The NST reported about a petition on change.org registered by a parent on after four students were infected with COVID-19. The affected teachers and classrooms were subsequently closed. A parent also came on record to say his son and another 13 students from a school in Kajang were barred from taking two of their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia exams last week when a classmate was positive for COVID-19.

Exam Updates

SPM papers to be marked online from 2021

6th March 2021 | The Star

Starting this year, the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination papers will be marked online. Education Minister said the online marking system was a good approach to increase productivity. Taken annually by over 400,000 candidates, the SPM could not simply be cancelled or its method changed as some have suggested because it was an internationally accredited exam. The decision to postpone was also made after finding that students needed more time to prepare. This was because schools were closed and although they studied at home, it was different. On the February 17 launch of DidikTV Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia, two days before the reopening of schools was announced, the channel, dedicated to broadcasting educational content in the country, had its benefits regardless of whether schools were open or close.


VinUniversity opens special admission round to attract international students and internationally recognised talents

11th March 2021 | Taiwan News

VinUniversity announced the opening of a ‘Special Admission Round’ for international students and talented Vietnamese students with international recognition. Accordingly, candidates for this round include (1) Excellent students from all countries in the world; (2) Vietnamese or international students who have won medals at national or international science Olympiads; (3) Vietnamese or international students who have been recognised and admitted by prestigious universities all over the world. This Special Admission Round is opened to better accommodate international and talented candidates. Specifically, the initial application process is exempted and candidates can directly move on to the interview round with the Admissions Council of VinUniversity. There is a commitment that applicants will be assessed quickly and comprehensively according to the Special Admissions Process called 5-5-5.

Vocational schools to add new subjects, increase enrolment targets

9th March 2021 | Vietnam Plus

A number of vocational colleges in Ho Chi Minh City have decided to add new subjects and increase enrolment slots this year. The HCM City Technical and Economic College (HOTEC), will recruit 1,400 students for 20 academic areas, an increase of 100 slots compared to 2020.  Due to high demand, HOTEC wants to add seven new subjects with an enrolment of 280 students. The subjects include logistics, mechanical equipment and machinery maintenance, hotel management, vehicle maintenance and repair automobile chassis, automotive air-conditioning and climate control system, moulding manufacturing, and industrial electronics.

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