The Week In Education: JEE Main syllabus, empty schools, cyclone Nivar

The Week In Education: JEE Main syllabus, empty schools, cyclone Nivar
Team Careers360 | Nov 28, 2020 - 10:14 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: As Tamil Nadu recovers from cyclone Nivar, the week was hit with major announcements from the education ministry as well. Technical courses, especially engineering, will be taught in the mother-tongue at select IITs and NITs from next year and the National Testing Agency has been tasked with issuing a new syllabus for Joint Engineering Entrance (JEE) Main, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), and other entrance exams for the next year.

While the education ministry has directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to ensure timely disbursement of scholarships, several Delhi University colleges have stepped up to provide financial aid for students facing financial difficulties amid the pandemic.

Considering the safety of students, more states have decided to extend the lockdown on educational institutions till December 31. After registering the highest single day spike in COVID-19 cases, Delhi Government hinted that it may not open schools until the COVID-19 vaccines are available. States which reopened schools on a voluntary basis are registering low attendance.

Competitive exams were also postponed in cyclone-affected areas in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

JEE Main syllabus, UGC scholarships

From next year, the engineering course will be taught in the mother-tongue, the Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' announced on Wednesday. According to the ministry, a few Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) are being shortlisted for it. In addition, the National Testing Agency, responsible for organising engineering and medical entrance exams, has been asked to draw up a fresh syllabus for exams such as JEE Main 2021 and NEET 2021, based on the board exam syllabus. Many state and central school education boards have docked their 2021 exam syllabi.

Pokhriyal also directed the UGC to ensure timely disbursal of scholarships and fellowships.

MHA unlock guidelines

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) this week issued unlock guidelines for December that focussed on surveillance, containment and caution. The MHA has left states to decide on limiting the number of persons in closed spaces, including educational institutions.

The MHA has permitted all activities outside containment zones, except those in closed spaces where certain restrictions apply. As per the MHA guidelines, educational gatherings, with up to a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces have been allowed.

Schools reopening, low attendance

In line with the 'Unlock 5' guidelines, several states had begun the process of reopening schools but saw a feeble attendance. Some states closed schools again due to the rise in coronavirus cases. School authorities were allowed to call students of Class 9 to 12 to school on a voluntary basis.

However, as per a report by the Right to Education Forum, around 37% of students in five states in India are unsure of returning to school once schools reopen after the pandemic. The study, covering 3,176 households in Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

On Tuesday, Manish Sisodia, education minister of Delhi, said that the schools in the national capital are unlikely to reopen until a vaccine is available. Later, the health minister, Satyendra Jain, reiterated the Delhi Government’s stand that schools will not be reopened in the national capital till the government is convinced about students' safety.

Meanwhile, in the absence of state government’s directives, the education institutes in West Bengal are still uncertain whether to reopen physical classes or continue the online arrangement.

Acting on the recommendation of the Technical Advisory Committee for COVID-19 in Karnataka, the state government has decided not to reopen schools and pre-university colleges in December. The chief minister, BS Yediyurappa will review the situation and decide the future course of action in the third week of December.

In Maharashtra, only five per cent of the total enrolled students attended the schools and colleges which were allowed to reopen on Monday. The state education department had allowed schools to reopen for students of Class 9 to 12 with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocol. Attendance is, however, not mandatory. Civic bodies like Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Panvel had directed that schools in these cities will remain closed until the end of this year due to rising number of COVID-19 cases.

In Meghalaya, the state government has allowed reopening of schools in rural areas from December 1 for students of Class 6 onwards but with the consent of parents. Schools in urban areas will resume normal classes for Classes 9 to 12.

West Bengal slashes Class 10 and Class 12 syllabus

Due to the academic disruption caused by COVID-19 lockdown, the West Bengal education minister, Partha Chatterjee has announced a 30- 35 percent reduction in Class 10 and 12 syllabi. The reduced syllabus will be brought in effect in the academic year 2020-21 due to school closure for around seven months. The decision was made as per the recommendations of an expert panel.

Exams postponed due to Cyclone Nivar

As the Cyclone Nivar hit the coastal state of Tamil Nadu, on Thursday, two examinations scheduled on November 26 were rescheduled for students residing in the affected areas. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has rescheduled the CA exam 2020 to December 12 at the same exam centre between 2 PM and 5 PM. The exam was rescheduled for cities including Chennai, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram, Kumbakonam, Nagapattinam, Tiruvallur, Tiruvannamalai, Vellore & Villupuram and the union territory of Puducherry.

The NTA rescheduled the CSIR UGC NET 2020 exam scheduled on November 26 in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. However, the revised date for the exam has not been announced yet.

DU colleges lend financial support to students amid pandemic

Delhi University colleges have taken steps to assist students facing financial hardship due to the pandemic Hindu College’s Old Student Association has set up a “pandemic study grant”; St Stephen’s College is setting up a ‘Resilience Fund’; and after the suicide case of a second-year student, Lady Sri Ram College is offering a fee rebate for a few courses and setting up a committee to provide laptops.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help, AASRA has a list of resources here: http://www.aasra.info/helpline.html

DU to declare pending UG, PG results by November 30

The University of Delhi this week informed the Delhi High Court that the pending results for various postgraduate and undergraduate courses will be declared by November 30.

QS Asia University Rankings 2021 released

The National University of Singapore secured the top institution position in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asia University Rankings 2021. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) Bombay, Delhi and Madras are among the top 50.

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