Bengal Colleges to reopen in Nov, govt may ask UGC to delay academic year

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Partha Chatterjee: West Bengal Education Minister

The new academic session of both undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) colleges and universities in West Bengal will begin from December 1. The decision came after a meeting between Vice-Chancellors of state universities and West Bengal Higher Education Minister Partha Chatterjee on Sunday.

Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said that the reason they are planning to start the new academic session in December is because host of festivals that are lined up in November including Lakshmi puja, Kali puja/Diwali, Chhat puja, Jagaddhatri puja etc. 

Chatterjee said, “As we need to sanitise the institution premises before starting the academic session in full course, we have to take into account the four-five festive days when no work will be possible. So it will be in the fitness of things to start the new sessions from December.”

He said since most universities have already adopted online teaching for the mid semester courses and providing course materials to students who don’t have online facilities, starting the new session won’t be hopefully of much problem.

“Still whether the classes will be entirely online or there will also be offline mode of teaching will depend on the situation at that time,” the minister added.

While admissions to UG courses will be over by October 31, the admission procedure in PG courses will be completed only by the end of November.

The education minister said his department would write to the University Grants Commission (UGC), asking it to allow the state to start the new academic year from December.

In a notice on September 22, the UGC said the admission process for UG first-year students would have to be completed by October 31, and classes should resume on November 1.

Meanwhile, sources said the universities decided to reserve 80 per cent of seats in PG courses for students who completed their graduation in an affiliated college, or in the institute itself. The decision was taken because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and curbs in transport. As a result, many graduates may find it difficult to pursue higher studies in institutions outside the state.

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