New dates could be announced only after two weeks. For students planning to sit for entrance tests, this could be a dampener.
Mumbai-based student Vipin Singh had paid Rs 30,000 for a crash course to prepare for CLAT 2020 - an exam held for enrolment into national law universities in India.
But his plan has gone for a toss after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced postponement of Class X and XII exams due to the coronavirus outbreak.
CBSE has said that the exams to be held between March 19 and 31 will be rescheduled to a later date.
However, for students like Singh, this means that there is uncertainty around the new dates. CLAT 2020 is scheduled to be held on May 10 and he is not sure if he would be able to attend the crash course.
"I understand the gravity of the situation. But at least some arrangements could have been made to ensure that board exams are over by March 31," said Singh.
Both CBSE and ICSE/ISC examinations have been rescheduled. New dates could be announced only after two weeks. For students, especially those planning to sit for entrance tests, this could be a dampener.
The Delhi branch head of a test-preparation institute said that he has received a few requests for fee refunds. However, he said that they don’t have any such policy.
"Students are in a panic mode right now. On one hand they have lost the fee paid for coaching, on the other they may lose out on admissions unless the higher education institutes consider an extension," he said.
Uma Kadhir, a 38-year-old domestic help in Mumbai, had enrolled her daughter into an engineering coaching centre. Now that JEE Main has been postponed, the institute has asked for an additional amount of Rs 6,000 to train her.
"How will I suddenly pay more money? Some alternative mode should have been planned because her entire career is planned on clearing JEE Main. We don't have any plan B right now," said Kadhir.
It is unlikely that a nation-wide extension for higher education including engineering and medical school admissions would be given. This is because currently only CBSE and ICSE/ISC examinations have been postponed. State boards including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala as well as Uttar Pradesh are holding the board examinations as per schedule.
For CBSE/ISC students, there is fear that the board examination dates would clash with the competitive examinations in engineering, medical and law that there are preparing for. On the other hand, if the marksheets are delayed, the admissions will be in jeopardy.
Examinations like JEE Mains have been postponed but those like CLAT and NEET are still on schedule.
For those applying abroad, there are other challenges.
Sixteen-year-old Tarini Khanna studying at a Kolkata was looking to apply for a design course at a Singapore University. The deadline is last week of March and she is worried because her ISC examinations have been postponed.
"I did check with the university. But they said that no further extension will be provided. Hence, I may not be able to study there this year since acceptance letters will be received by May. My board exams may not even be completed by then and without a valid marksheet I won’t be admitted," she added.Considering COVID-19 has affected more than 75 countries globally, some leeway in education admissions could be expected in places like France, Italy, China, UK and US. However, for several countries like Singapore, Australia, Japan have not announced an official shutdown yet.
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