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Published weekly, the COVID-19 Impact on South Asian students highlights news drawn from various sources focusing on South 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 on South Asian students covers news articles from August 24 – 31, 2020.

Stay Safe.


MCI (Medical Council of India) allows students to pursue a medical course abroad

29th August 2020 | The Print

The Delhi high court has been informed by the Medical Council of India (MCI) that all candidates, who are taking admissions in foreign universities for pursuing a medical course, can go on the condition that they qualify the NEET-UG this year or in 2021. The MCI clarified that owing to the extraordinary situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a one-time measure, candidates can go abroad for pursuing a medical course, provided they fulfil the criteria under the ‘Eligibility Requirement for Taking Admission in an Undergraduate Medical Course in a Foreign Medical Institution Regulations, 2002′ for admission to MBBS courses. The MCI’s counsel also informed the court that in another matter, the Supreme Court was informed that Vande Bharat Mission flights are available for students and efforts will be made by the Ministry of External Affairs to accommodate Indian and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) students before the NEET examination on September 13 and genuine requests for relaxation of quarantine conditions will be considered.


14-day quarantine must for NRI students coming to Kerala for NEET 2020

27th August 2020 | India.com

The mandatory quarantine period of 14 days on arrival remains unchanged for NRI students who will be flying from Gulf countries to Kerala for NEET 2020, scheduled to be held on September 13, 2020. Going by this, the candidates will have to reach Kerala by August 31 to complete their stipulated quarantine time. Those who won’t stay in the state for 14 days will not be allowed to visit any place in Kerala. The Supreme Court had earlier ordered that Vande Bharat Mission flights will prioritize these passengers ahead of the exams.


Opinion—COVID-19: Plans to study abroad disrupted, students, enroll in India

27th August 2020 | News Careers 360

A foreign degree is still just as attractive but many hopefuls are now weighing the risks of moving abroad against staying in India to study and redrawing their plans. For example, after two years of surveying the field and securing admission to Stanford University, a student, from Delhi, abandoned his dream of studying abroad and settled for a private university in India. The COVID-19 pandemic has put paid to his plans. New applicants and their families are pulling out all stops to ensure a “zero year” – a gap year – is avoided. Similarly, many other students had to drop their plans for studying abroad. They are now enrolling in private universities in India of which online classes have already begun.


Indian students unlikely to return to Australia anytime soon

27th August 2020 | Study International

South Australia is scheduled to reopen its borders to 300 international students under a pilot programme in September, but Indian students will unlikely be part of that flight. The Australian High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell has clarified that Indian students won’t be a part of the pilot programmes being considered by the federal and the state governments unless one of those plans propose direct access into India. The High Commissioner said he would like to see the return of all students from South Asian countries, but the reality is that the participation of students from India is “largely logistical and determined by COVID-19.” He added that while India may commence regular flights to other countries by mid to late September, there doesn’t seem enough certainty to plan a pilot for Indian students just yet.


SC refuses to direct holding NEET abroad, asks to allow students to come via Vande Bharat Mission

24th August 2020 | The Economic Times

The Supreme Court have declined to pass a direction to the Central government to hold the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) Undergraduate (UG) 2020 examination in Gulf countries, but asked the government to allow students to come via Vande Bharat Mission flights to give the exams. The bench said the exam will be offline and the students who fly in will have to maintain the 14 days quarantine given public health. The Central government, under the Vande Bharat Mission, has permitted Indian citizens, including overseas citizens of India, to come to India by special flights, the affidavit has added while seeking dismissal of the plea.


Nepal-Cabinet decision to resume issuing abroad study permits leaves students confused

27th August 2020 | Kathmandu Post

The Nepal government has decided to issue study permits (No Objection Letter) for those wishing to go abroad for further studies. The government had stopped issuing ‘No Objection Letter’ since April 2020 as the coronavirus epidemic was spreading around the world. However, in a cabinet meeting, it was decided to open the distribution of ‘No Objection Letter’. The Ministry of Education has been providing ‘No Objection Letter’ to students who want to study abroad for higher education. Australia, Japan, New Zealand, China, and other countries are among the choices of students for abroad studies. The number of recipients of No Objection Letter is increasing every year. According to the Ministry of Education, some 1,00,00 persons who want to study abroad have been receiving ‘No Objection Letter’ each year.


3,000 Bangladeshi students want to return to China

26th August 2020 | The Daily Star

Around 3,000 China-returnee Bangladeshi students requested the ministry for foreign affairs, requesting to take necessary measures for their return to China. The government of Bangladesh has successfully confronted the coronavirus and advanced a long way in inventing vaccines. The students said if they cannot go to China to attend the upcoming semester, their studies and careers will be in jeopardy, and a large number of students and their families will be stuck in a crisis. The students requested the state minister for foreign affairs to take necessary arrangements talking to the Chinese authorities for their return to China.


MCI (Medical Council of India) allows students to pursue a medical course abroad

29th August 2020 | The Print

The Delhi high court has been informed by the Medical Council of India (MCI) that all candidates, who are taking admissions in foreign universities for pursuing a medical course, can go on the condition that they qualify the NEET-UG this year or in 2021. The MCI clarified that owing to the extraordinary situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a one-time measure, candidates can go abroad for pursuing a medical course, provided they fulfil the criteria under the ‘Eligibility Requirement for Taking Admission in an Undergraduate Medical Course in a Foreign Medical Institution Regulations, 2002′ for admission to MBBS courses. The MCI’s counsel also informed the court that in another matter, the Supreme Court was informed that Vande Bharat Mission flights are available for students and efforts will be made by the Ministry of External Affairs to accommodate Indian and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) students before the NEET examination on September 13 and genuine requests for relaxation of quarantine conditions will be considered.


14-day quarantine must for NRI students coming to Kerala for NEET 2020

27th August 2020 | India.com

The mandatory quarantine period of 14 days on arrival remains unchanged for NRI students who will be flying from Gulf countries to Kerala for NEET 2020, scheduled to be held on September 13, 2020. Going by this, the candidates will have to reach Kerala by August 31 to complete their stipulated quarantine time. Those who won’t stay in the state for 14 days will not be allowed to visit any place in Kerala. The Supreme Court had earlier ordered that Vande Bharat Mission flights will prioritize these passengers ahead of the exams.


Opinion—COVID-19: Plans to study abroad disrupted, students, enroll in India

27th August 2020 | News Careers 360

A foreign degree is still just as attractive but many hopefuls are now weighing the risks of moving abroad against staying in India to study and redrawing their plans. For example, after two years of surveying the field and securing admission to Stanford University, a student, from Delhi, abandoned his dream of studying abroad and settled for a private university in India. The COVID-19 pandemic has put paid to his plans. New applicants and their families are pulling out all stops to ensure a “zero year” – a gap year – is avoided. Similarly, many other students had to drop their plans for studying abroad. They are now enrolling in private universities in India of which online classes have already begun.


Indian students unlikely to return to Australia anytime soon

27th August 2020 | Study International

South Australia is scheduled to reopen its borders to 300 international students under a pilot programme in September, but Indian students will unlikely be part of that flight. The Australian High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell has clarified that Indian students won’t be a part of the pilot programmes being considered by the federal and the state governments unless one of those plans propose direct access into India. The High Commissioner said he would like to see the return of all students from South Asian countries, but the reality is that the participation of students from India is “largely logistical and determined by COVID-19.” He added that while India may commence regular flights to other countries by mid to late September, there doesn’t seem enough certainty to plan a pilot for Indian students just yet.


SC refuses to direct holding NEET abroad, asks to allow students to come via Vande Bharat Mission

24th August 2020 | The Economic Times

The Supreme Court have declined to pass a direction to the Central government to hold the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) Undergraduate (UG) 2020 examination in Gulf countries, but asked the government to allow students to come via Vande Bharat Mission flights to give the exams. The bench said the exam will be offline and the students who fly in will have to maintain the 14 days quarantine given public health. The Central government, under the Vande Bharat Mission, has permitted Indian citizens, including overseas citizens of India, to come to India by special flights, the affidavit has added while seeking dismissal of the plea.


Nepal-Cabinet decision to resume issuing abroad study permits leaves students confused

27th August 2020 | Kathmandu Post

The Nepal government has decided to issue study permits (No Objection Letter) for those wishing to go abroad for further studies. The government had stopped issuing ‘No Objection Letter’ since April 2020 as the coronavirus epidemic was spreading around the world. However, in a cabinet meeting, it was decided to open the distribution of ‘No Objection Letter’. The Ministry of Education has been providing ‘No Objection Letter’ to students who want to study abroad for higher education. Australia, Japan, New Zealand, China, and other countries are among the choices of students for abroad studies. The number of recipients of No Objection Letter is increasing every year. According to the Ministry of Education, some 1,00,00 persons who want to study abroad have been receiving ‘No Objection Letter’ each year.


3,000 Bangladeshi students want to return to China

26th August 2020 | The Daily Star

Around 3,000 China-returnee Bangladeshi students requested the ministry for foreign affairs, requesting to take necessary measures for their return to China. The government of Bangladesh has successfully confronted the coronavirus and advanced a long way in inventing vaccines. The students said if they cannot go to China to attend the upcoming semester, their studies and careers will be in jeopardy, and a large number of students and their families will be stuck in a crisis. The students requested the state minister for foreign affairs to take necessary arrangements talking to the Chinese authorities for their return to China.


Exam Updates

Final Year Examinations: Indian states discuss guidelines to conduct exams before Sept 30, 2020

30th August 2020 | India.com

With the Supreme Court upholding the UGC directive that all final year examinations (college and universities) should be completed by September 30, state governments are now planning how to conduct the examinations — the mode, type of questions, etc.


Delhi University to hold the second phase of online open-book exams for final year UG, PG students from 14th Sept

29th August 2020 | First Post

The Delhi University will conduct the second phase of online open-book exam (OBE) exams from 14 September. Students of final-year undergraduate and postgraduate courses, who could not appear in the first phase or have failed to upload and submit the scanned images of the answer scripts, can take the exam.


Maharashtra: Final-year exams may be conducted online in October

31st August 2020 | The Times of India

Final-year exams are likely to be pushed to October in public universities in the state. The question papers may be in the MCQ (multiple choice questions) format, said sources. While the state government may come out with uniform guidelines for conducting the final exams soon, these were some of the points discussed in a vice-chancellors’ committee meeting held on Sunday. The committee report will be submitted to the government on Monday.


Final Year Exams: Anna University to conduct exam online

29th August 2020 | Times Now News

Anna University has decided to go ahead to conduct the examinations after the Supreme Court verdict to conduct the exams. The varsity is looking forward to conducting the exam via online mode. The state government has cancelled the arrear exams for all college students this year except for final year students.  The final year college students will have to appear for the arrear examinations.


JEE Advanced 2020: Registration to commence from Sep 11, exam on Sep 27

28th August 2020 | The Times of India

Registration for computer-based JEE (advanced) 2020 will commence from September 11, 2020. According to the new brochure, the deadline for registration ends on September 16 (05 pm) and the last date for filing application fees is September 17 (5 pm). The exam is scheduled for September 27, 2020. The top 2.5 lakh candidates from the JEE (Main) merit list, along with other eligibility criteria, will be eligible to take the exams for admission to 23 IITs and centrally funded institutions like IISc and IISERs.


AIIMS result 2020 released for PG final exams

27th August 2020 | The Times of India

All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi declared the result of the final post-graduate programme examination on its official website. The candidates who have appeared for the AIIMS final PG exam can visit the official website of AIIMS — aiimsexams.org — to check and download their results.


NLU AILET 2020: National Law University Delhi entrance exam on 26th Sep

29th August 2020 | First Post

The All India Law Entrance Test (AILET) this year will be held on 26 September. The National Law University Delhi (NLUD) on 26 Sept. 2020 released the exam schedule on its official website. The entrance examination will be organized by the National Testing Agency (NTA) in more than 100 exam centres across the nation.


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