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April 16, 2020 Thursday 08:23:51 PM IST

AICTE gives instructions to ensure safety and academic welfare of students

Leadership Instincts

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic the country is currently observing a lockdown till 3rd May 2020, AICTE has issued instructions to colleges/institutions and has directed them that ensuring safety precautions during the threat posted by COVID-19 would be a fundamental responsibility of all citizens of India, during this hour of crisis. Likewise, Heads of Institutions have the onerous responsibility of safeguarding the health and associated interest of all stakeholders of their respective colleges/ institutions. In view of the above, the following guidelines are issued for strict compliance by all colleges/institutions:

1) Payment of fees:  It has come to the knowledge of AICTE that certain stand-alone Institutions are insisting that students should pay the fees including admission fees, during the lockdown. It is clarified that colleges/ Institutions should not insist on payment of fees till the ongoing lockdown is lifted and normalcy is restored. Further, guidelines in this regard for communicating the revised timelines will be issued by AICTE in due course. Accordingly, all colleges/ Institutions are directed to display the information on their websites and also communicate the same to the students through email.

2) Payment of salary to faculty members:  It has been learned that various institutions have not paid a salary to their faculty and staff members for the duration of the lockdown. Also, certain institutions have terminated the services of certain faculty/ staff members. It is clarified that salary and other dues to the faculty/staff members will be released for the duration of lockdown and also Terminations, if any, made during the lockdown will be withdrawn. Hence, the same may be strictly complied with. A letter in this regard has also been issued to the Respective Chief Secretaries of the States / UTs including reimbursement of fees to colleges/institutions.

3) Discouraging fake news: Various interest groups/individuals are circulating fake news on social media platforms thereby creating misinformation and rumours. Discouraging any such fake news and reporting the matter to concerned authorities would be the prime responsibility of all stakeholders. It is also advised that any information published on the official website of MHRD/ UGC / AICTE only may be relied upon. Hence, these websites may be regularly perused for any updates. Similarly, for another government circular, official websites of the concerned Ministries / Departments may be referred to.

4) Prime Minister's Special Scholarship Scheme: Due to ongoing lockdown and restricted access to the internet , activities pertaining to PMSSS for the academic year 2020-2021 have been delayed. However, it is clarified that the scheme will be continued as in the past once the lockdown is lifted. A calendar of events, laying down fresh timelines will be published in AICTE website in due course.

5) Online classes and semester examination: It is clarified that online classes for the current semester will be continued during the extended lockdown. A revised academic calendar will be issued by UGC/ AICTE subsequently. Regarding the conduct of semester examinations, it is clarified that UGC has constituted a committee for recommending the modalities of conduct of examinations, an award of marks and passing criteria in examinations. Directions in this regard will be issued separately. Websites of UGC/ AICTE may be perused regularly.

6) Internships:  It is clarified that some students would not be able to pursue their Summer Internships due to the ongoing lockdown. Hence, they are advised to pursue internship from home. In case the same is not feasible, this requirement may be fulfilled in December 2020.

7) Sharing of internet bandwidth with other colleges/institutions: Due to inability of certain students to access internet services, college/Institutions are advised to allow students of other colleges/institutions in their vicinity to access the internet facility at their colleges/institutions and colleges/ Institutions may accordingly permit students of other colleges/ Institutions to share their campus internet facility. Attendance rule may be relaxed in the light of lockdown and unavailability of good bandwidth in certain rural areas.

All colleges/ institutions must strictly adhere to these instructions failing which action will be taken as for the prevailing rules