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 15, 2021 – March 30, 2021

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South Asia


India replaces U.S. to become second biggest international student market for London

22nd March 2021 | The Hindu

The UK capital is by far the most attractive destination of choice for Indian students coming to study at British universities, rising from third place in 2018-19 to become the second-largest international student market for London in 2019-20. According to new data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 13,435 Indian students are enrolled at London universities, up a massive 87 per cent on the previous year’s 7,185 students. China maintained its first place in ranking with 29,940 students, while the U.S. dropped to the third position with 7,245. Applications by Indian students may have been encouraged by the reintroduction of the two-year post-study visa for international students by the U.K. government, allowing overseas graduates a longer period of time to look for employment after their studies.

Overseas students including Indians not allowed to return for now

22nd March 2021 | Hindustan Times

Indian students enrolled in Chinese universities but stranded in their home country will not be allowed to return for now because of the continuing and strict restrictions it has imposed on international travel related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Chinese representatives have suggested that Indian students stay in contact with their universities in China and follow their instructions, in effect saying that they should continue with their online studies. In a statement, the Indian embassy in Beijing said the Chinese government’s bar on allowing foreign students to enter the country was still in place despite multiple requests to the Chinese ministries of foreign affairs and education to allow the students to return to the country to resume in-person classes. The embassy also clarified that the recent visa facilitation notification for foreigners who have been administered a Chinese vaccine did not apply to students.

Exam Updates

Mumbai University Exams 2021: Schedule released, exams in online mode from April 15

25th March 2021 | Times Now

Mumbai University to conduct the last semester theory examinations for final year Arts, Commerce and Science Undergraduate (UG) online, from April 15, 2021 announced by the varsity by issuing a notification. The timetable for the same final examinations will be released soon according to the officials. Mumbai University, final year last semester theory exams 2021 of Arts, Commerce and Science programmes will include 1-hour-long 50 multiple choice questions (MCQ) for 50 marks, while for other courses such as engineering, pharmacy and MCA courses, two-hour-long theory exams will be conducted for 80 marks – 40 marks for MCQ and 40 marks for descriptive questions. Also, for the law courses, 90-minute -long theory exams will be held for 60 marks, with 30 marks for 10 MCQs and 30 for descriptive questions.

TANCET Exam results to be released soon

21st March 2021 | NDTV

The Anna University conducted the postgraduate entrance examination Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test (TANCET). The exam was conducted in offline mode at the designated examination centres. The results are expected to be announced in April. The TANCET results will include individual marksheets for the candidates and give the qualification status. The candidates will be able to check TANCET results by logging into the admission portal. TANCET was conducted for admissions into Masters in Computer Application (MCA), Masters in Business Administration (MBA), ME, MTec, MArch and MPlanning.

CBSE allows students to request for change in examination centre

20th March 2021 | Times Now

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is giving the students an option to change their examination centre/ city for the upcoming CBSE 10th 12th Board Exams 2021. In a notice released by the board, CBSE has permitted the students to request for a change in the exam centre – either for practical exams or theory or both. With the pandemic, many students of classes 10 and 12 have shifted along with their families to some other city. The board notes that in this circumstance, it is difficult for students to appear for the practical or theory examination from the school or examination centre the students is enrolled or allotted – respectively. All students who have moved to another city and do not wish to travel back to the city to appear for an exam can take advantage of the same.

CBSE class 10th, 12th students allowed to take improvement test in the same year

22nd March 2021 | Business Today

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has provided a huge breather for class 10 and 12 students as they will now get a chance to appear for improvement papers and upgrade their performance in the same academic year. However, this will be restricted to only one subject, the CBSE stated in a notification. Earlier, students who wished to appear for improvement exams had to wait for one complete year to sit for the exams. The new rules will come into effect from the 2021 CBSE board exams, which are scheduled to begin in May. The changes have been introduced under the National Education Policy (NEP) which aims to make exams low stake. The NEP had suggested that Class 10 and 12 board students be given more opportunities to score well.

JEE Main 2021: April and May phase of exams date announced

26th March 2021 | LiveMint

The National Testing Agency has announced the dates for the next two phases of Joint Entrance Exam – Main (JEE Main) that will be conducted in April and May. The exams will be conducted between 27 April and 30 April, and then between 24 May and 28 May. NTA said while online application submission for April session has started and will continue till 4 April, for May session of the JEE Main exam, the application submission dates will be announced in due course. The government had announced that JEE Main will be conducted four times a year from twice earlier. The NTA is announcing the dates in a staggered manner.

NEET (UG) 2021 to be conducted only one time in a year

15th March 2021 | LiveMint

Days after the National Testing Agency (NTA) announced the date to conduct the NEET (UG) 2021 examination, Education Minister stated that the competitive exam will be conducted only one time this year, thus ending speculations of NEET being held multiple times, similar to the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE Main) format. NTA announced the NEET examination for admission in undergraduate medical courses to be held on August 1. NEET (UG) – 2021 will be conducted in 11 languages, including Hindi and English through Pen and Paper mode.

YouTube Discussions

Why 2021 is the right time to study in the U.S.?

27th March 2021 | IDP Education

After an uncertain year for US politics, the presidential change has restored confidence in the future of American higher education for many. With new leadership comes the hope of increased government aid, less hostility towards international students, and greater funding for scientific research. In this session experts have shared their views and opinions on opportunities available in the USA for international students. Students and Parents will get information about why 2021 is the right time to study in the USA if you are planning to study abroad. Watch Video


Exam Updates

Online registration for SSC exams starts on April 1

22nd March 2021 | Dhaka Tribune

Candidates of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams can start their online registration from April 1 as this year’s eligibility tests at schools were scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dhaka Education Board announced the decisions in a notice on its website. The students can register online for the exams until April 7. Registration will also be open from April 10 to April 14, but with late fees.

Bangladesh suspends Ordinary, Advanced Level exams amid COVID-19 cases spike

16th March 2021 | BD News 24

The ministry’s Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education issued the order addressing the country director of the British Council’s Bangladesh. The Ordinary and Advanced Level exams for English Medium students were scheduled to begin in April. The directive from the education ministry said public exams in all Bengali Medium schools and other mainstream education centres have been suspended with the safety of students and teachers in mind in light of the COVID-19 situation.

Sri Lanka

Exam Updates

GCE Advanced Level exam results to be released end of April

24th March 2021 | Daily News

G.C.E. Advanced Level Examination results are expected to be released by the end of April stated the Education Minister. The results of the 2020 GCE Ordinary Level examination which ended on March 10 are scheduled to be released in June and it has been decided to start the GCE Advanced Level classes by July. The Minister further said that no decision has been taken yet regarding the holding of this year’s scholarship examination in August and that a final decision will be taken soon and it will be announced soon.

Southeast Asia


Exam Updates

SPM 2020 well-conducted despite COVID-19 pandemic

26th March 2021 | The Borneo Post

The Education Ministry (MOE) has successfully conducted the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2020 examination in a smooth, orderly and safe manner despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of the commitment and dedication of its members. The rescheduled SPM examination for 2,969 candidates who could not sit for the examination due to quarantine or other health issues with medical records would be held from April 6 to 23.

Education Ministry fully implementing the online marking and grading method for SPM 2020 exams

25th March 2021 | Malay Mail

The Education Ministry (MOE) is fully implementing the online marking and grading method using the LPSkor system for all Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2020 examination papers. 23,885 examiners were involved in marking 5,180,871 units of answer scripts for 96 examination papers in SPM 2020. The SPM 2020 examination, which started on February 22 and ended on March 25, involves 401,105 candidates at 3,310 examination centres nationwide.


Viet Nam National University Ho Chi Minh City aims at becoming nucleus of Ho Chi Minh City’s innovative eastern urban area

18th March 2021 | Taiwan News

The HCM City People’s Committee has recognised the Viet Nam National University Ho Chi Minh City (VNUHCM) as a hub of science, technology, culture, and knowledge in the city’s innovative eastern area. The area has contributed to the establishment of a value-added chain for a high-technology platform and international standard technical infrastructure. City leaders are expecting the eastern innovative urban area to help connect science-technology research and application centres, high-quality human resource training institutions, hi-tech products, services trading and production centres. The area will become a hub that spearheads economic development in the city and southern region in the context of industry 4.0.

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