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 May 10, 2021 – May 24, 2021.

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South Asia


Facilitate return to Chinese varsities, say medical students

24th May 2021 | Hindustan Times

With no response from the Chinese government so far, Indian students enrolled in medical programmes in China have written to the ministry of external affairs as well as to the Indian and Chinese governments to facilitate their return to campuses. Students wrote open letters to both the governments, stating that the looming uncertainty over their return to campus has led to mental strain. They have requested the governments to prioritise the return of the students who need to complete their hospital shifts and clinical rotations in order to graduate by September, at the earliest.

67% Indians prefer US for higher education

18th May 2021 | Times of India

About 67 per cent of Indians prefer the US for higher education, reveals a new report by fin-tech platform Prodigy Finance. The report on the State of Higher Education in Study Abroad Market, showed that besides the US, Indian students prefer the UK and France at 8 per cent each for pursuing their master’s degree abroad. Most students who went abroad for higher education were from Maharashtra (20 per cent), Karnataka (15 per cent), Delhi (12 per cent) and Telangana (8 per cent). Almost 70 per cent who travelled abroad for higher education last year were male and 30 per cent were female, the report showed. 

Ireland set to open campus for students in September; offers scholarships for Indian students

11th May 2021 | Free Press Journal

2021-2022 academic year, which begins from September, Regional Manager, India & South Asia for Education in Ireland, said, “Looking ahead to the 2021/2022 academic year, which begins this coming September, it is likely that university-level students will be back on campus. By this time Ireland’s national vaccination programme should be complete, meaning Ireland should be in a different place with regard to COVID-19, compared to where things stand now, in Spring 2021. The return to a campus experience will most likely be done in a phased basis with various student groups. It is likely that some remote teaching will remain in place for larger student groups. So effectively a hybrid model will be in place,” he added. In order to encourage more students to take education in Ireland, the government of Ireland has announced undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships worth 1,500,000 Euros for Indian students.

Exam Updates

CBSE 12th board exams from July 15 to August 26, exam pattern likely to change

24th May 2021 | News 18

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is expected to hold class 12 board exams from July 15 to August 26. The exact date sheet for the same will be released on June 1 after the board holds a review meeting to access the feasibility of holding exams. The board exams will be held in offline mode. A section of students has been protesting on social media platforms seeking the cancelation of class 12 offline exams. The CBSE has proposed conducting exams between July 15 and August 26 and the result to be declared in September, according to sources. The final decision will be out on June 1. The exams, however, will not be held as per the regular protocol. CBSE had suggested either holding exams only or a few subjects or holding exams for 1.5 hours instead of three hours.

JEE Advanced 2021 likely to be rescheduled

24th May 2021 | Indian Express

After the postponement of JEE (Main) April and May 2021 sessions until further notice, there is uncertainty looming over the conduct of JEE Advanced 2021. The exam is scheduled to be conducted on July 3, 2021. If JEE Advanced is to be conducted as per schedule, then ideally one session of JEE Main was to be conducted in May and the second session in June. However, now that the JEE Main exams have been postponed, it is very likely that the exam date for the Advanced exam will also have to be pushed forward.

Anna University registration for retest from May 24 to June 3

23rd May 2021 | Indian Express

Anna University has announced that the registration for re-exams will be open between May 24 and June 3 for students who did not register for the November-December 2020 examinations. In a circular, the varsity on Saturday said that the web portal of the office of the controller of examinations will levy a special fee of INR 5,000 to be paid by the students along with the normal exam fee for each paper for students who have exhausted the maximum period of study. Others have to pay the normal fee for each paper. Students can find details on https://coe1.annauniv.edu. Due to the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, students have been requested not to visit the varsity in person.

Delhi University to conduct open book exams for May/June semester from June 7

21st May 2021 | Indian Express

The Delhi University (DU) confirmed that the final semester/year examinations scheduled to begin on June 7 will be online open-book exams (OBE) like last year. Like the second phase of OBE conducted in September 2020, students will be given the option to sit for the exam remotely or appear for the exam from their college/institute. DU postponed its final semester/annual examinations for the second time due to COVID-19. The exams scheduled to begin from June 1 will now begin on June 7. The new date sheets shall be released soon and shall be available on the website of the University of Delhi. The detailed guideline regarding the May/June 2021 semester examination will be issued in due course of time.

Mumbai University allows colleges to defer final year last semester exams

18th May 2021 | Free Press Journal

The University of Mumbai (MU) allowed degree colleges to postpone final year last semester online examinations scheduled on Monday due to power cuts and lack of internet service after cyclone Tauktae hit normal in city. Some degree colleges conducted the final year last semester examinations via online on Monday, while others deferred it to a later date. MU allowed degree colleges to take a decision regarding postponement of final year last semester exams. MU has informed all colleges to complete final year semester exams by May 21.

YouTube Discussions

Choosing study abroad destinations: Some strategies

18th May 2021 | Leverage Edu

Selecting the right study abroad destination involves various steps. Before selecting the destination, it is important that students have finalized the course they want to pursue. The next step is to research the universities offering the course, check their ranking and eligibility requirements as well. Lastly, before applying to your dream university, don’t forget to check the cost of living, tuition fee, and other expenses with the job opportunities after the completion of your studies. In this session experts will help students in selecting the best study abroad destination and also sharing some useful tips and strategies. Watch Video 


Exam Updates

Legal notice to government seeks cancellation of MBBS result

11th May 2021 | Dhaka Tribune

A legal notice has been sent to the government seeking cancellation of the “faulty results” of the MBBS admission test in the 2020-2021 academic year and formulation of a new merit list. According to the notice, the results of the MBBS admission test for the 2020-2021 academic year published on April 4 contained numerous errors and major inconsistencies. According to the rules of admission test published by the Department of Health Education on February 8, if a candidate participates in the admission test for the second time while he is admitted in a medical college, 7.5 marks will be deducted from his total marks. Again, if a candidate passes the HSC examination last year and appears in the admission test after a delay of one year, their 5 marks will be deducted. But the published results show that this rule was not followed in case of many candidates. The Bureau of Health Education is going to start the admission process in the medical colleges in the 2020-2021 academic year from May 22 on the basis of faulty merit list, alleged the lawyers. In the notice, the Bureau of Health Education has been asked to suspend the admission process for the academic year 2020-21 and to prepare a new merit list after reviewing the results by canceling the defective merit list.

Sri Lanka

Exam Updates

Changing Ordinary Level (O/L) and Advanced Level (A/L) exam dates: More action essential for best results

18th May 2021 | The Island

A decision is reported to have been made to change the dates of the GCE O/L and GCE A/L exams with effect from the year 2023. According to this proposal O/L examination will be held four months early in August instead of December and the A/L examination will be conducted seven months early in January instead of August every year. This plan if implemented properly with the necessary changes in the university admission process coupled with the streamlining of the university academic year in the university system would considerably reduce the delay in the time required for graduation. It is also necessary to develop a well-organized academic programme to keep the O/L students occupied after their exam until the A/L classes begin in January next year.

Southeast Asia


Exam Updates

MCO 3.0 expands to whole country, restrictions from May 12 to June 7, students sitting for international exams exempted

10th May 2021 | The Edge Markets

The whole of Malaysia will be placed under the Movement Control Order (MCO) from May 12 to June 7, said Prime Minister as the country grapples with rising COVID-19 infections. Under this movement restriction that will last almost four weeks, all educational institutions will be closed, with exemptions given only to those with students who are sitting for international exams. All social visitations and sports and recreational activities are banned. Also prohibited are inter-district and interstate travels, with certain exceptions.


Exam Updates

More than 30 localities keep school closures, exams to be flexible

28th April 2021 | Vietnam Plus

University and school students from more than 30 cities and provinces nationwide on May 10 entered the second week of online studying since their schools were shut on May 4 due to the serious ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks. The northern provinces of Dien Bien and Bac Ninh, the central province of Quang Tri, the southern city of Can Tho are the latest to announce school closures. Many localities plan to re-open schools but various schools have extended closures due to the complex developments of the pandemic in the country. With students at home, education facilities organised disinfection of campuses, classrooms, learning tools and toys as well as assigning staff to be on duty daily at schools. The closure fell with exams on the way so many schools have been proactive with online learning as well as flexible with testing and evaluation for students. Exam work has also been accelerated in many localities while some schools have turned to online tests. Regarding the high school graduation exam, with the pandemic outbreak in many localities, the exam could be held at many different times. The ministry will organise safe test places in localities that have not imposed social distancing, including disinfection, masks and disinfectants supplying. At the test sites, there would be exam rooms arranged for candidates who have had varying degrees of contact with COVID-19 patients.


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