Kolkata: The new academic session of both undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) colleges and universities in West Bengal will begin from December 1, 2020. The decision came after a meeting between vice-chancellors of state universities and West Bengal higher education minister Partha Chatterjee on September 27.

Partha Chatterjee said, “The government would consider the health of students before the start of the new academic year. All the educational institutions will be sanitised before starting the academic session in full course. The decision was taken after a meeting with the vice-chancellors.”

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“Keeping in view of festivals like Lakshmi puja, Kali puja/Diwali, Chhat puja, Jagaddhatri puja lined up in the entire month of November, the meeting resolved to start both UG and postgraduate academic sessions for 2020-2021 in colleges and universities respectively from December 1,” he further added.

The education minister also 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 hopefully won't be 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.”

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A Vice-Chancellor of a prominent state university in the city who attended the virtual meeting said, “It was initially decided to start first-year undergraduate classes in colleges from November 1 and postgraduate classes from December 1.”

“However, as the festive season falls in end October and the major part of November, many participants at the meeting later pointed out the difficulties to start UG classes in November and the minister finally decided with the consent of others to begin the new academic session both at PG and UG levels from the same date,” he further added.

On the same day, Partha Chatterjee said that it would be difficult for students from Bengal and outside Bengal to get admitted to college and universities due to the ban on transport, due to the pandemic. He stated that attention will be paid to ensure that no student is left out of the online class module. The Education Minister also discussed how to connect villages and cities.