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 December 14, 2020 – January 11, 2021.

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Indian students enrolled in Chinese universities denied permission to return

09th January 2021 | The Print

With the ongoing pandemic situation globally, Indian students who are enrolled in Chinese universities were denied permission to return. Indian Embassy in China in a statement informed student clarifying that Chinese authorities have denied permission for the operation of any chartered flights between India and China, citing their strict control measures. Meanwhile, the Embassy continued to take up the issue of Indian students enrolled in Chinese universities. Regarding the resumption of studies with authorities, the statement said, “unfortunately, there has been no positive evolution of this situation”. With the reports of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China, authorities have further reinforced controls and restrictions on travel and entry into China, informed the Indian Embassy. Further, it stated that the suspension of visas of Indian nationals issued before November 2, 2020, is an instance of these enhanced controls. However, the Embassy advised, “Indian students to monitor its websites and social media channels to remain updated about the evolving situation concerning the prospects of their return to China.”

Just 4% drop in Indian students in US universities, pandemic delayed plans

03rd January 2021 | The Times of India

There was a 16 per cent drop in foreign students enrolled in US universities in the fall of 2020 as compared to the same period last year, data from the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) report shows. The report – based on a survey of 700 US institutions, published last month – reveals how the pandemic has shaped higher education plans of students. On the Indian front, US State department’s Open Doors 2020 recorded a fall of slightly over four per cent of students applying to institutions in the US. However, the drop, experts say, only reflects a delay in plans as the US continues to remain Indians’ priority. The QS survey of students to reflects this argument with only six per cent of international students, as of November, saying they no longer wished to study overseas, while 55 per cent deferring their entry to next year.

Indian students in UK request Indian govt to consider emergency travel options during lockdown

31st December 2020 | Edex Live

Indian student groups in the UK urged the Indian government to consider emergency travel options in extremely exceptional cases during the current suspension of air travel imposed to try and block out a fast-spreading mutant strain of coronavirus detected in Britain. As the Union Civil Aviation ministry announced that the suspension will be extended by another week until January 7, the groups sought some emergency intervention after being contacted by individuals desperate to get to India due to a family crisis or bereavement. While a majority of Indian students had managed to fly out of the UK for what is a customary Christmas and New Year holiday period, a handful of them was caught out by the cancellation of the India-UK air bubble arrangement from December 22 after England recorded a worrying spike in coronavirus cases as a result of a new highly-transmissible variant of the deadly virus.

More Indian students applying for the Fall semester

25th December 2020 | Telangana Today

Universities in the US are witnessing an increase in enrolment applications from India for the Fall Semester (August 2021). In this backdrop, the US universities are planning classwork during the pandemic, the changes in scores and admission requirements in the light of COVID-19, the changes in fee structures on account of the pandemic and yes, all the COVID-19 precautions on campus. The directors of the global programmes of three top US universities, the Pennsylvania State University, the University of Houston and the Iowa State University, along with US government officials shared the pandemic scenario in their institutions, about new proficiency tests like Duolingo that allow students to take the test from their own homes, and also the financial aspects and every step of applying at a US higher education institution.

COVID-19 vaccine to be available free for Indian students studying in the UK: UK govt

25th December 2020 | India Today

The UK government expressed its commitment to support international students during COVID-19, with universities’ minister Michelle Donelan writing an open letter to students thanking them for their patience at provisions introduced to tackle the spread of the virus. She also confirmed that the students will not be charged to apply for testing or treatment for COVID-19. The news is particularly welcome as the UK along with many other countries around the world has confirmed the emergence of new strains of the virus. While the Indian students comply with health measures, the UK has confirmed that it has ordered 40 million doses of this vaccine overall enough to immunise up to a third of the population – with approval of the Oxford vaccine expected within days. The UK government has now secured early access to over 357 million vaccine doses through several vaccine developers. This will enable international students to access these vaccinations, just as they can access NHS healthcare. This provision includes older international students or those with underlying medical conditions who will fall into priority categories.

Exam Updates

JEE Advanced exams on July 3, 75% eligibility criteria relaxed

8th January 2021 | LiveMint

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will conduct the joint entrance examination (JEE) Advanced on July 3, the Union education ministry announced a relaxation of the minimum board examination marks criteria for eligibility. However, the plan of taking the examination in regional languages is off the table this year. IIT Kharagpur will conduct the JEE Advanced 2021 and it will be a computer-based test. JEE Main will be conducted four times in 2021—February, March, April and May—and unlike JEE Advanced it will be in 13 languages, including 11 regional languages such Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, Bengali and Punjabi. The first of the four attempts of JEE Main in 2021 will be conducted between February 23 and February 26.  

Jamia to hold open book exams for undergraduate, postgraduate students

8th January 2021 | Hindustan Times

Following protests from students over the online proctored examination, Jamia Millia Islamia announced guidelines for online open book examination for its undergraduate and postgraduate students. A compulsory mock examination will also be held for students, university officials said. To appear for their online examinations, students would have to log in to the university’s examination portal using their credentials and download the question paper.  Students will be given three hours to complete the paper and will get one additional hour to upload the answer scripts to the portal.

Karnataka Board Exams 2021 date announced

7th January 2021 | Zee Business

As per the government announcement, Karnataka SSLC (Class 10) 2021 examinations would be conducted in the first week of June, while the PUC 2nd year or Class 12 (Class 12) examinations would be conducted in May 2021.

TANCET 2021 registration to begin from Jan 19

6th January 2021 | Times of India

Anna University has released the notification for Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test (TANCET) 2021 on its official website. According to the notification, the TANCET 2021 application registration to begin on January 19. TANCET, an entrance test conducted by Anna University, for candidates seeking admission to M.B.A., M.C.A. and M.E. / M.Tech. / M.Arch. / M.Plan. Degree Programmes for the academic year 2021-2022 offered at University Departments, University Colleges of Engineering, Regional Campuses of Anna University, Annamalai University, government and government-aided colleges (Engineering, Arts & Science Colleges) and self-financing colleges (Engineering, Arts & Science Colleges including stand-alone Institutions) in Tamil Nadu can be registered only through Online.

Maharashtra Board Exams 2021 date announced

6th January 2021 | Jagran Josh

The Maharashtra School Education Minister has stated that the Maharashtra HSC Exams for 2021 will be conducted after April 15, 2021, while the Class 12 exams will be conducted from May 1, 2021. The Minister also added that the final date-sheet will be released subject wise for the upcoming HSC and SSC Board exams will be released by the state education board in the coming weeks.

CAT result 2020 declared

2nd January 2021 | Hindustan Times

Indian Institute of Management – Indore declared the IIM-CAT 2020 result on its official website. Candidates who have appeared for the exam can download their CAT 2020 scorecard online at iimcat.ac.in. IIM -Indore had conducted the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2020 on November 29 in a computer-based test mode. CAT 2020 final answer key was released onDecember 31. 

NEET MDS Result 2021 declared

1st January 2021 | Hindustan Times

National Board of Examination (NBE) declared the NEET-MDS result 2021 on its official website- natboard.edu.in. Candidates who have appeared for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Master of dental surgery can check their results online. NEET-MDS 2021 was conducted on December 16. Individual scorecard of the candidates who appeared in NEET-MDS 2021 can be downloaded from the website https://nbe.edu.in on or after January 12, 2021.  

CBSE class 10 and 12 board examinations 2021 to start from May 4

31st December 2020 | Live Mint

Union education minister announced the dates for CBSE class 10 and class 12 board examinations for 2021. CBSE class 10 and class 12 board examinations will be starting from May 4. The examinations will be concluded by June 10. The results for CBSE class 10 and class 12 board examinations will be declared by July 15. In the view of COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the ministry of education earlier postponed the CBSE class 10 and 12 board examinations. Usually, the practical exams are conducted in January and theory exams begin every year in February and conclude in March.

Mumbai University Teachers’ Union seeks UGC’s Intervention to delay first-year degree college exams

30th December 2020 | Mumbai Live

The Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union (BUCTU) has approached the University Grants Commission (UGC) after failing to get the attention of Mumbai University (MU) officials over exam dates. The BUCTU has written a few letters to the MU vice-chancellor by indicating that the first-year degree college exams had been scheduled without complying to the mandatory 90-day working rule put in place by the UGC. The letter goes on to say that the uncertainty and the ensuing confusion has left students of the first-year batch in a difficult situation as they are struggling to cope with the study portion so as to prepare for the upcoming examinations. A circular issued by Mumbai University on November 18 said that all affiliated colleges are to hold online exams for current batches of the undergraduate courses by December. Meanwhile, post-graduate exams were to be completed by January 2021 as per MU’s circular.

YouTube Discussions

Important updates for Canada bound Students

8th January 2021 | IDP Education India

This session talks about important updates for Canada bound Students. It discusses IRCC updates, biometrics, visa delays and course registration. This session will help students and parents with clarity on admissions for International Education in Canada. Watch Video 


Bangladesh mulls opening educational institutions from February

29th December 2020 | Dhaka Tribune

Education Minister Dipu Moni has clarified that all educational institutions in the country may reopen in February this year. Addressing an online press conference, the minister said classes could be held from February to May if the coronavirus situation was under control. The authorities will try to complete the syllabus in this time frame. The minister also said that the next Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and equivalent examinations might be held after a shortening of the syllabus. She said work was underway to shorten the syllabus. The details would be announced by January 15. If the situation is favourable, SSC exams of 2021 may be held in June next year and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams in July or August.

Exam Updates

UGC wants cluster admission system for private universities

10th January 2021 | Dhaka Tribune

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recommended private universities adopt a cluster admission test system similar to the centralized entry exam hosted by public universities. The UGC sat with public universities in March and decided to go with a cluster admission test system for the academic year 2020-21 even after top universities refused to accept the uniform admission system. Dhaka University, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), Jahangirnagar University, Rajshahi University, and Chittagong University will not join this cluster admission system because of their previous refusal.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka to obtain COVID-19 vaccine after a successful trial

01st January 2021 | News First

Sri Lanka will obtain a COVID-19 vaccine only if it proves to be successful after trials, a medical expert clarified. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that Sri Lanka is among the 190 countries that have registered with its COVAX facility to obtain the vaccine. It added that doses are expected to begin arriving in countries in the middle of 2021.

Exam Updates

2020 GCE Advanced Level Practical exams begin

8th January 2021 | News First

Practical examinations related to the new and old syllabi of the 2020 GCE Advanced Level Examination have already commenced. Practical tests in Bio-systems Technology was held on January 8 and Engineering Technology will be held on January 21. Practical examinations of Home Economics, Oriental Music, Karnataka Music, Western Music, Drama, and Performing Arts will be held on January 26.


Education ministry starts providing free internet

20th December 2020 | The Himalayan Times

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has started a pilot project from to provide free internet and communication services to students and teachers of community schools, with support from Nepal Telecom in a bid to give continuity to classes through online platforms during the pandemic. The government’s recent move is followed by the Student Learning Facilitation Guideline-2020 endorsed by the ministry on September 4. The guideline envisions the roles of ministries, local governments, and community schools in facilitating teaching-learning activities in community schools. As per the recent initiative, schools can now create a ‘Closed User Group’ of students and teachers where teachers and students can interact without having to pay anything. For this, each student is required to provide his/her mobile number. If a family has more than one child, all the children can get this service with the same number.

Exam Updates

National Examinations Board preparing to hold Grade 10 exams from May

30th December 2020 | The Himalayan Times

National Examinations Board (NEB) has started preparation to conduct the examination of Grade 10, also called Secondary Education Examination, of the current academic year from mid-May. The NEB, for the purpose, has also asked all the schools in the country to register the names of Grade 10 students.


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