The academic session for freshers in engineering colleges and other technical institutions across the country will begin from December 1 and the deadline for admissions has been further extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

According to the academic calendar issued last month, the admission process for first-year students was to be completed by October 31 and classes for the first semester were to commence by November 1.

"As we all are aware, our country is going through a national emergency that has arisen due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Due to prolonged emergent conditions in the country, requests from various state governments and the ongoing admission process of IITs and NITs, the council has extended the last date of admission to first-year engineering courses (UG and diploma lateral entry) to November 30," AICTE secretary Rajive Kumar said in an official order.

"The classes may be started in the online, offline or blended mode, following the prescribed protocols and guidelines related to COVID-19.

The academic calendar may further change, subject to the condition existing due to the pandemic and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education," he added.

Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16, when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as part of the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) had last month announced that the delayed academic session for freshers in universities and colleges will begin from November 1, and the winter break this year, the summer vacation in 2021 and other holidays would be curtailed to compensate for the time lost.

The guidelines framed by an expert committee, set up for revising the academic calendar in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, were accepted by the UGC and accordingly, the universities have been recommended a six-day teaching learning schedule every week.
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