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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 November 16 – November 23, 2020.

Stay Safe.


India

Visa Application Centers are reopening in India

19th November 2020 | CIC news

The Canadian government has just announced that its Visa Application Centres (VACs) in India will resume services from this week. In a new tweet, the government stated it will schedule limited biometrics appointments in Delhi, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru. It will prioritize international students and family class applicants. Resuming biometrics is the last remaining major obstacle for those in India who are exempt from Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions. While international students have been exempted from Canada’s travel restrictions as of October 20, Indian students who have not submitted biometrics before could not travel to Canada. The same could be said for family class and skilled worker immigrants who are also exempt from the travel restrictions.

USA has 11 million COVID cases but 46% of Indian students still want to study there, finds study

17th November 2020 | Edex Live

The United States of America might have more than 11 million cases of Coronavirus but Indian students are still keen to pursue their education in the USA, found a study by Chennai-based EdTech firm Galvanize Test Prep. The study found that 89.2 per cent of the students are still keen on studying abroad and 46 per cent of them want to go to the USA. The study of more than 1,000 aspirants found that 72 per cent of them want to go abroad for better job opportunities if they graduate from a good university there, while 20 per cent wanted to study abroad because the varieties provide a plethora of options and 8 per cent was keen on settling abroad.

Indian students have become reluctant e-learners amid pandemic

19th November 2020 | Consultancy. in

As e-learning becomes the norm, the majority of Indian students still prefer to learn in person. This is according to data from the government-backed scholarship portal Vidyasaarathi. More than 10,000 students between the ages of 12 and 28 were surveyed across 400 Indian cities, to better understand the reality of learning during Covid-19. Schools in India closed even before a nationwide lockdown was announced back in March, and the phased reopening of educational institutions began only last month. With the majority of students still learning from home, more than 60% currently spend between one and four hours each day on e-learning. Around a third spend up to eight hours, while a diligent 8% of Indian students spend between eight and twelve hours a day with their online learning. Enabling this dedication is the constant availability and accessibility of online learning channels when compared to in-person classes. And students are well aware of these benefits. More than 70% appreciate the fact that they can access their learning platforms anywhere, while more than 15% acknowledge it for its ease of use.

Pandemic pushes a steep drop in foreign college students

16th November 2020 | The Indian Express

Complications and new policies brought on by the coronavirus pandemic have stopped thousands of international students from attending universities in the U.S. this fall, raising concerns that the steep decline could foretell a long-lasting shift for universities that have come to rely on attracting international students. At-risk are millions of dollars in tuition for the universities and some of the world’s brightest minds for U.S. employers. While the number of new international enrolees has been on the decline during the past few years because of new rules limiting student visas and competition from other countries, the pandemic has been a crushing blow. This fall, new international students enrolled at U.S. universities online or in-person fell by 43%, according to a survey of more than 700 schools released Monday. That’s the largest decrease recorded by the Institute of International Education, which has been publishing data on international enrolment since 1954. Including both new and returning students, total international enrolment fell by 16%. The survey found that among those who did enrol at U.S. colleges, about one in five were studying online from abroad.


Exam Updates

Tentative dates for CBSE class 12 practical exams 2021 released

22nd November 2020 | DNA

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has released the tentative dates for class 12 practical exam. The notification released by the CBSE states that the class 12 practical exams will be held from January 1 to February 8. It is to be noted that the dates are tentative, and the board will announce the exact dates soon. The students are advised to check for updates on the official website. The CBSE has also released the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure) for conducting the practical examination. Moreover, the datasheet of the board examinations of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for classes 10 and 12 will be released soon. 

JEE Main 2021: January session registration may be delayed

22nd November 2020 | Zee News

The registration for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main 2021 may be delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic. Sources claimed that the registrations for both January and April JEE sessions may be delayed due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the country. However, no official notice has been issued in this regard so far for JEE Main 2021.

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) notifies scheduled date for Jan/Feb Chartered Accountant (CA) Exams

19th November 2020 | Times Now

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has notified January 21, 2021, as a scheduled date for January or February CA Exams. It is informed that January/February 2021 examination will commence in all cities where exams are currently scheduled for November 2020 Examination.

Mumbai University Exams 2020: MU semester-end exams likely to be conducted in December for all streams

18th November 2020 | Times Now

Mumbai University is expected to conduct the semester-end exams likely in December 2020. The exams for all streams- arts, science, and commerce would be conducted online by the varsity this year. More than 25 multiple choice questions will be asked in the upcoming exams. The exam schedule would be released soon the varsity on the official site. The varsity will keep digital supervision during the exam for all courses and cases of malpractices will be dealt with stringently. Also, the university plans to appoint vigilance squads to oversee the conduct of exams. As per a university official, these squads will be asked to visit colleges and seek photos or video footage of students taking exams online.  

High Court directs Delhi University to give details of OBE results declaration course wise

18th November 2020 | The Times of India

The Delhi High Court directed the Delhi University to give details of the courses whose results for Open Book Examination (OBE) have been declared and inform it by when the results of the remaining courses will be declared as the exams were conducted way back in August. A division bench of the high court had earlier directed the university to declare results of all the post-graduate courses by October 31 and to upload the mark sheets on its website. It had also fixed various deadlines for declaration of results of undergraduate courses, between October 20 to 31 with a buffer of a maximum of three days from the date fixed. For BA (prog) courses, the results were to be declared on November 6.


YouTube Discussions

Everything you need to know about studying in the US

20th November 2020 | Times Higher Education

In this session, experts discuss international higher education in the USA. Times Higher Education is joined by Crimson Education and Shorelight to answer questions on studying in the USA.  Watch Video


Bangladesh

Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) students to get a soft loan to buy smartphones amid pandemic

22nd November 2020 | Dhaka Tribune

A total of 703 insolvent students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) will get interest-free loans to purchase smartphones. It is an attempt by the university to enable them to continue their online academic activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The University Grants Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh is giving soft loans. To avail the loans, the enlisted students will have to apply to the soft loan approval committee and then the authorities will disburse the loan as per the rules. On November 4 last, the UGC at a meeting decided to provide soft loans to some 41,501 students of the 39 public universities to buy smartphones to participate in their online academic activities.

Bangladeshi students studying in the US reach new all-time high

17th November 2020 | Dhaka Tribune

The number of Bangladeshi students studying in the United States has reached a new all-time high. Over 8,800 Bangladeshi students studied in the US in the 2019/2020 academic year. US Embassy Dhaka disclosed the data in its annual report, titled “Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange,” in celebration of International Education Week (IEW). The figure is a new all-time high for Bangladesh, reflecting a 7.1% increase over the 2019 report (8,249 students), and more than tripling since 2009. Bangladesh now ranks 17th in the world, up from 20th place in 2019, of countries sending students to the United States for higher education. The country had the highest percentage growth among the top 20 countries and the highest increase in the South Asian region.


Nepal

Lack of US visa appointments frustrates international students

22nd November 2020 | Work Permit

International students bound for the US have expressed their frustration over problems they’re facing amid a lack of visa appointments at American Embassies in certain countries. The problems come despite US officials saying that they would ‘prioritize student and exchange visitor visa programs.’ Reports of students’ frustration come amid International Education Week, which the US has used to position itself as ‘engaged’ with the aims of enabling international education and student ability. The UTSA Scholarship Office seemingly confirmed the University of Texas’ stance by saying that ‘students must begin taking courses from spring 2021 and must be enrolled full-time, either in-person or online, for the Distinguished Presidential Scholarship to disburse.” Amid the frustrations of international students, the US Department of State (DoS), insists that its ‘phased resumption’ of routine student visa services remains a ‘high priority’. The DoS said: “We will make every effort to assist student visa applicants in a timely fashion while keeping our staff and customers safe”.

Students, faculty collaborate on free online resources for Nepalese students

20th November 2020 | The Daily Cougar

The faculty and students recently collaborated on an effort to create free online resources that helped Nepalese students preparing for their national exam amid the coronavirus pandemic. With over 350 math and science videos gaining more than 14,000 views, the HamroV YouTube channel offers tutoring resources for 10th graders preparing for Nepal’s Secondary Education Examination. When many U.S. organizations jumpstarted new initiatives to provide students with free resources during the pandemic, Gnawali noticed a lack of support on the same scale in Nepal.


Exam Updates

Grade 12 exams to start on November 24 despite COVID-19 threat

22nd November 2020 | The Kathmandu Post

Over 430,00 students are set to sit for in-person exams for grade 12 beginning November 24. This will be the largest-ever gathering of people in the education sector since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country early this year. The exams are being conducted as over 1,500 new Covid-19 cases are being reported across the country every day. Officials at the National Examination Board say they have made all preparations to conduct the exams safely, and examinees need not worry about their safety. Everyone will be masked properly and sitting arrangements have been made with two meters of the gap between examinees. The number of exam centres has been more than doubled compared to the previous year to minimise the crowd. 


Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan schools to reopen for Grades 6-13 this week

19th November 2020 | MENAFN

The Education Ministry has announced that selected schools will be reopened from this week. Minister of Education Professor G.L. Peiris said that all schools, excluding those in the Western Province and those under lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, will resume academic activities for the remainder of the year. The Ministry of Education has decided to reopen schools from Monday, 23rd November. The Minister said that a decision has been taken to reopen schools and conduct academic activities only for students from Grades 06-13.


Exam Updates

Ordinary Level (O/L) examination dates to be monitored due to COVID-19 situation

22nd November 2020 | The Nation

The Ministry of Education and the Department of Examinations stated that the date to hold the upcoming G.C.E. Ordinary Level (O/L) examination for 2020 will stand as of January 18, 2021, but the COVID-19 situation in the country will be monitored continuously. Commissioner General of Examinations stated that the Department will consult the Ministries of Education and Health based on how the situation evolves in the coming weeks. If the syllabus is covered, there should not be an issue in holding examinations on the scheduled date.


 

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