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A Vaccine, Visa, and Vista of the Future: The Updated Guide to Getting to University in a Pandemic

In the present circumstances, each new development and announcement might seem to throw a curveball in your journey to your dream university – and as counselors, we understand  The  

Your watchword right now needs to be “awareness”. By keeping track of latest developments, you will be able to successfully plan your academic journey and minimize uncertainty.

The latest notification by the CBSE Board has stated that it is now considering two options for marking Grade 12 students—either the final exams from both Grades 10 and 11 in addition to the Grade 12 internal assignments will be considered, or only Grades 10 and 12 together. Students are awaiting a swift and fair decision, but if you are one of those who are on track to university but stuck due to administrative delays, read on to see what exactly you need to do in the interim.

 

    Get Your JAB –

If you are 18 or above, we cannot stress the importance of having your vaccinations done before you enter your destination country. This should be your first priority at the moment, as major schools in the US – over 360 public and private institutions – mandate vaccination before entry to the country. While other popular locations like Canada, the UK, and Australia have not specified this demand, it is probable that they too will deny entry for those who do not carry a WHO-certified vaccination certificate.

 

At present, the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield is the only WHO-approved vaccine in India, and the gap between doses has been extended to 12 weeks. However, states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, and Telangana have reduced this gap to 4-6 weeks for students with foreign university admits and workers who have to travel internationally. They have also allotted priority slots and a dedicated vaccination schedule for these individuals, establishing special portals, passport-linked vaccination confirmation, and other facilities to fast-track the process. According to the Kerala government, approximately 2000 students have already registered for this service and more are to follow suit – we hope to see other States implement this policy as soon as possible, as this is the ideal decision in light of the urgency of the situation.

 

    Other Medical Formalities:

The vaccine isn’t the only health requirement that needs to be fulfilled for an international student; many countries have specific tests that need to be completed before they approve a Visa, from HPV to Tuberculosis checks. Students need to be in good health before they travel – ensure that these formalities are completed as soon as possible through approved health centers.

 

    Your Student Visa:

Without a valid Visa, you will be unable to enter the country you are slated to go to. Once you have all the necessary documents (keep a checklist handy!), you will need to jumpstart the process. The Visa will have certain stipulations for entry; for example, students who are to head to the US need to secure a date to apply for their F1 Visa the moment their i20 Forms are processed. They will need to email the Embassy for this category with the copies of their form attached, even if the date is not initially visible. The F1 Visa does not allow students to enter the country before 30 days from the commencement date of their course.

What does this mean for students who need last-minute vaccinations? The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that is available in the US has a 21-day (3-week) minimum recommended interval between doses. If the student can reach the university 30 days before their course, as per their Visa, and avail of the on-campus vaccine, they would receive the second dose well in time for school to start. It is important to communicate with the university administration and check for quarantine requirements and vaccination policies.

 

    Get in Touch with Your School and University – Get the networking bug inside you!

Keep an eye out for updates on the current situation. Write to your university explaining the delay in exam result announcements; they will allow you flexibility provided they know your intent to enroll with them is still high. If there is no response, request your school administration or counselor to get in touch with the university instead of doing it yourself. The school could send a letter that is followed up by the student, or vice-versa – the school’s involvement lends an official understanding to your case, and the school should ideally work in collaboration with the university to request an exemption for your unusual circumstances and explore how to work around the delay in exam results.

 

    Polish Your Pre-University Knowledge:

Many universities have degree-specific courses, modules, or preparation material to be completed before matriculation (your formal start date). Ensure that your work on these is not hindered, as these are foundational for you to understand your classes once you get to university.

 

Despite everything that is going on, the key takeaway is that you need to plan like you will reach your university in time. For select States (the list is expanding!), a vaccine taken now is eligible for a second dose by the 15th-20th of July at the latest. Even with 2 weeks allotted for recuperation, this leaves students with a comfortable entry date of the first week of August.

 

As for the Board examination results, some universities, for instance those in Canada, have already mentioned that these are not mandatory. Last year, the IB Board finals were not conducted, but students were granted admits regardless.

 

Compared to the first bout of the pandemic panic in 2020, global universities are much better prepared this year. No one was expected to report to campus during the first wave, but 2021 has seen the US ready to open its doors for international students. Canada and the UK will likely follow suit and have already established special measures for students from red list countries like India.

 

During this period rife with ifs and buts, you have to stay prepared – be in touch with Embassies to follow up on your Visa process, confirm your vaccinations, tick all the other boxes for valid entry, and progress in a manner as though it is certain that you are going. Finally, it is important to stay positive – we’d highlight this in a bold, shining gif if we could! – and continue to work on your other commitments alongside your communications with your school, university, and embassy.

 

AUTHORED BY MR. ADARSH KHANDELWAL, COLLEGIFY.

 

eCom Scotland develops eLearning materials on complying with the UN Child Rights Convention

Following the news, in March, that Scotland is to become the first devolved nation in the world to directly incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law, a webinar has explored the legal and service delivery implications for the implementation of this Convention into Scottish law.

 

In particular, the webinar – held on 3rd June – examined how anyone undertaking functions or providing services to children can meet the challenge complying with the UNCRC requirements, reflecting them in their day-to day-running, culture and practices.

 

Helen Robertson, External Relations Director of the digital learning and assessment specialist, eCom Scotland, who attended the webinar, commented, “Scotland’s taking the lead in adopting this Convention might appear to be showing up the other three nations within the UK – and I’m sure this move, due to come into effect in Scotland this autumn, will put pressure on England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow suit.

 

“To help those involved in implementing the Convention’s requirements, eCom is supporting Children’s Hearings Scotland as well as with Scotland’s national children’s charity, Children 1st, in developing relevant eLearning materials for their audiences. These materials should contribute to building confidence and competence for those involved in the changes in practice and outcomes for children,” Helen added.

 

The webinar discussed the implications of putting children’s human rights at the heart of decision-making, including instituting a proactive culture of accountability for children’s rights. Having covered how organisations should plan and prepare for compliance with the Convention, it suggested how such compliance could be demonstrated in practical terms.

 

“The webinar focused on how public sector bodies – and anyone undertaking functions or providing services to children with public money – can meet the challenge of acting compatibly with the UNCRC requirements, reflecting them in their day-to-day running, culture and practices,” explained Helen.

 

“The Convention requires public authorities to make the best interests of children a primary consideration in their decision making and service delivery, obliging them to actively protect children from violence, injury or abuse. They must also recognise the rights of children with disabilities to enjoy a full and decent life and to uphold children’s rights to an adequate standard of living.

 

“Complying with legislation is one thing but actively and successfully promoting children’s rights is another,” Helen continued. “One of the ways in which organisations can get it right – or at least minimise the chances of getting it wrong – is to allow their employees ready access to high-quality learning materials. With 25 years’ experience of producing such eLearning materials – and a customer cohort of over 1m people – we feel that eCom is well-placed to meet this need.”

 

IMTS Institute Helps 25,000+ Students Achieve their Study Dreams and Career Goals

IMTS Institute, a Noida-based educational institute in India, announces that it has received 99% positive reviews with a 4.8-star rating out of 5 on Google Verified. Anyone across the globe can view these reviews on Google posted along with students’ verified names, some of them with application numbers and photos.

Google is the best platform to check the credibility of any organization, and it is also a fair platform to review any organization. IMTS Institute continuously strives to improve the education quality by giving the best support to all its students for the past 15 years. Some of its past students have given positive reviews about the institute. These students currently work with Google, Accenture, Facebook, TCS, HCL, Hero Honda, Maruti, and many more MNC companies.

IMTS Institute distance education provides free career counselling for a wide range of courses approved by UGC and other authorities to its students in the fields of Management, Technical, Traditional, Computer, Research, Diploma, and certification courses. The institute offers the best support to all its students.

Below are some of the questions asked by the students and candidates with the IMTS Senior Management team:

Is IMTS Noida approved by UGC?

IMTS Institute is an authorized university admission & study partner for lots of universities. It offers free career counselling to students by helping them to choose the right path for a successful future. It also provides counselling for UGC & Govt. recognized courses to help students.

If students are not from India, then how can they take admission?

If a student is not from India, then he/she need to take online counselling before taking admission. The IMTS institute’s expert counsellors will guide students over the phone or video call with the best online support. After successful counselling, students can take admission in respective courses from the available universities as per their requirements.

Does IMTS Noida take any service charges for their services?

IMTS offers all services on behalf of the university. In most cases, it don’t charge anything apart from the university fee.

IMTS Institute has helped 25,000+ students achieving their study dreams and career goals, out of which, around 500+ students have given 99% positive reviews on IMTS institute with a 4.8-star rating out of 5 on Google, which is quite a good rating.

The institute suggests students and candidates not trust any non-reliable websites, who write reviews about the IMTS Institute. It recommends students only to trust Government official websites such as UGC (University Grants Commission) and MHRD for Education Institute and Universities.

Which IMTS Institute is a genuine one?

IMTS institute fake or real: IMTS NOIDA is the real institute with a website: www.imtsinstitute.com running for the last 15 years. Some fake institutes use similar names to misguide people.

Such fake institutes are not connected with the IMTS Institute. The management recommends the students and candidates verify the institute’s details before taking admission.

Some students have given negative reviews about the IMTS Institute on the Consumer forum or Consumer Court. What would the management like to say about that?

The Government Official website of the Consumer forum is www.ncdrc.nic.in, and all others are non-reliable. They choose a similar name to misguide people, such as consumer-court.in, complaintboard.in, mouthshut.com; etc. These are some of the websites that write and post fake reviews about any organization. The institute will soon be taking legal action against such websites that write fake reviews and misguide students and the public.

The IMTS Institute recommends all the students and candidates trust only verified and Government websites. It suggests not relying on the websites that write fake reviews to bring down an organization’s reputation.

Students can directly contact the institute’s administration or senior management team to have their issues resolved. The institute will take further action to address the students’ problems and have those resolved at the earliest. IMTS suggests the students never visit websites that are non-reliable and non-official. These kinds of websites post fake reviews with misguided information to grow their website traffic level.

IMTS Institute offers courses approved by UGC, MHRD, and other government authorities. Degrees offered by the institute are valid all over the world. Past 15 years, IMTS has contributed its knowledge to build the future of its students.

The head office of the IMTS institute is located in Noida, India. The institute is also planning to open a new branch in Dubai, UAE. It focuses on delivering quality education in India and abroad.

 

British Safety Council Offers Free E-learning Courses to Manage Mental Health when Working from Home

British Safety Council, one of the world’s most trusted leaders in health, safety, and environmental management is offering free E-learning courses to help people cope with mental health issues arising from working from home during the pandemic.

The online courses focus on mental health and safety and are targeted to home workers. They aim to help millions in India’s workforce cope with the mental health challenges arising when working from home during extended periods of state-induced lockdowns. The courses offered include the following E-learning programs.

  • Remote Workers – Health, Safety, and Welfare course

  • Stress Awareness course

  • Managing Mental Health course

  • Managing Stress Within Your Team course

  • Start the Conversation course

Speaking about the importance of the online courses, Hemant Sethi, Country Head, British Safety Council, India said, “Working away from the office has implications for workers and managers.  Even in normal times, it is important to make sure they are connected to their colleagues and their work if they are not coming into the workplace. Our online courses may help people at a time of serious anxiety in the life of our country. Keeping an eye on each one’s wellbeing and their colleagues’ wellbeing is really important.”  

The key takeaway in the free E-learning programs is a comprehensive introduction to mental health and the link between pressure facing people at work and outside work that affects mental health. It also includes training on how to look after one’s own mental health as well as how to spot the signs that someone else needs help and to talk about their mental health.  The course on ‘Managing Stress Within Your Team’ highlights some of the pressure teams might face and helps managers become more aware of their actions and behaviours; most importantly it helps manage and reduce stress levels within their team.

The online courses are available free of charge on the British Safety Council India website or may be accessed by clicking the following link –

www.britsafe.in/about-us/remote-workers-health-safety-and-welfare-course

People keen on accessing the E-learning courses will have to register using the link and follow the instructions to download the courses.

 

eCom Scotland is among the first to publicly support the Customer Excellence Pledge

The digital learning and assessment specialist, eCom Scotland has become one of the first companies in the world to sign up to the Customer Excellence Pledge. Aiming to identify learning system vendors that promise to provide elite customer service and support, the Customer Excellence Pledge is a program developed by the internationally-known Craig Weiss.

 

Craig, the lead analyst for The Craig Weiss Group, which provides analyst, advisory and consulting services to buyers and vendors in the learning technologies industry commented, “Support in the learning system space, as a whole, is not good. There are vendors who do an exceptional job but the fact remains that the number one reason people leave one learning system vendor for another is the support and service they receive.

 

“Consumers rarely ask in-depth questions about support when they do their RFPs. They focus on security, functionality and case studies but they should also ask probing questions around support.

 

“The industry itself does a poor job of monitoring customer service,” he acknowledged. “I talk to vendors who say, publicly, they have great support but, privately, acknowledge it’s either poor or below average.

 

“Something has to be done to ensure that, when you buy a learning system, you know upfront the level of customer service and support – hence the Customer Excellence Pledge.”

 

Vendors signing the Pledge agree to a set of four statements – with two checkpoints, validated by The Craig Weiss Group, to assess the ongoing level of elite support each vendor provides for its customers. Under the terms of the Pledge, vendors promise to:

    Provide exceptional customer support and service. Maintain high ethical standards in sales, service, and business. Take care of their customers’ needs and provide timely assistance – including agreeing to respond to queries within 30 minutes during the vendor’s business hours, with daily follow-ups if applicable. Provide customers with a dedicated customer support/service member or team – to be the customer’s accessible point of contact.

 

Learning system buyers can check whether vendors have signed up to the Pledge by visiting the ‘FindAnLMS’ website, where those adhering to the Pledge will be indicated.

 

Craig Weiss explained, “No vendors pay any money to sign up to the Pledge. This initiative isn’t about generating money. Rather, it’s about a vendor backing up its customer service and support claims, with tangible results – and a signed pledge agreement.”

 

Commenting on the Customer Excellence Pledge initiative, Wendy Edie, eCom Scotland’s Managing Director, said, “Now in its 25th year, eCom Scotland has built its business by placing a premium on high production values and high-quality customer service. So, we welcome this new commitment to customer service excellence in the learning technologies sector – and we welcome our competitors aspiring to join us in providing the best customer service and support possible, through signing up to the Pledge.” 

 

Further details of the Customer Excellence Pledge can be found at: https://elearninfo247.com/2021/05/05/customer-excellence-pledge/

 

About eCom (https://www.ecomscotland.com/contact/)  

eCom creates innovative learning solutions – aimed at increasing learning engagement and driving productivity – to help organisations achieve their goals. With offices in Dunfermline, Scotland, and Athens, Georgia, in the USA, but with customers from around the world, eCom focuses on the delivery, tracking and reporting of workforce learning and development through innovative technologies. Its products and services address a range of workforce management, development and training challenges, including eLearning, online assessment, blended learning, competency management and accreditation.

 

Akshaya Patra Starts a COVID-19 Relief Feeding Centre at KR Market, Bengaluru – Home Minister of Karnataka, Shri. Basavaraj Bommai Launches the Programme

Akshaya Patra started its COVID-19 Relief Feeding Centre at KR Market in Bengaluru. The programme was launched by Hon’ble Home Minister of Karnataka, Shri. Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday, 15 May 2021. Through this centre, Akshaya Patra will serve 1,000 free cooked meals to COVID frontline warriors, industrial labourers and economically disadvantaged people between 12.00 pm to 3.00 pm every day. Over the next few days, the Foundation will start 3-4 similar feeding centres in other parts of the city.

 

Akshaya Patra has been undertaking food relief in several locations across the country since March 2020. With the country grappling with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation has decided to scale up its feeding efforts. Working with the Government and its donors, Akshaya Patra is reaching out to vulnerable populations to ensure their food and nutrition security.

 

Since the announcement of the state-wide lockdown in April 2021 to contain the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, Akshaya Patra has cumulatively served over 5 lakh meals (as of 15 May) to economically disadvantaged people in Bengaluru. These include construction site workers, industrial labourers, slum dwellers, street-side vendors and individuals at old-age homes and orphanages. On average, about 50,000 meals are served in the city every day. Simultaneously, about 800 cooked meals are being served to the staff, attendees and frontline workers at the KC General Hospital (Malleshwaram) and Victoria Government Hospital. Over the next few days, the Foundation will scale up the initiative to serve over 5,000 meals in government hospitals across the city. Additionally, it will also be working with the Government to provide a six-course meal to 800 COVID patients at the Victoria Hospital.

 

 

Akshaya Patra is also helping the police personnel, who are tirelessly working for the safety of people during the pandemic. The organisation is providing over 3,500 cooked meals and 2,500 snacks kits daily to the police personnel as a part of its ongoing relief efforts.

 

Hon’ble Home Minister, Shri. Basavaraj Bommai, said, “No one should go hungry during the lockdown. In the past Akshaya Patra has been a strong pillar of support, hence requested them to undertake this feeding initiative. As a result, today they are supporting the police staff and vulnerable people with hot, nutritious tasty meal.” He further expressed his delight to launch such a noble program and wholeheartedly praised the Foundation’s efforts to feed 5,000 policemen every day as a part of this initiative.

 

Speaking about the initiative, Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman – The Akshaya Patra Foundation, said, “I want to thank our Hon’ble Home Minister, Shri. Basavaraj Bommai and the Government of Karnataka for placing trust in us and enabling us to serve the people during the ongoing pandemic. I also want to express my gratitude to our corporate partners, individual donors and volunteers for proactively coming forward to support our food relief efforts across the country.” He further added, “Akshaya Patra has always strived to work with the Government to extend all possible services to the people of our nation in difficult times. We will continue our efforts and try to reach out to as many people as possible during this crisis.”

 

The Government has been implementing necessary relief efforts to help vulnerable populations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. On its part, Akshaya Patra is aiding the Government’s efforts through food relief. Since March last year, the Foundation has been undertaking relief feeding across the country through its kitchens and makeshift packaging centres with the support of the Government, corporate partners, individual donors and volunteers. As of 30 April 2021, Akshaya Patra has cumulatively served over 12.4 crore meals to vulnerable populations across 19 states and one UT. These include 6.07 crore cooked meals, 10.19 lakh essential grocery kits (over 4 crore meal servings) and 10.63 lakh Happiness Kits with dry ration (over 2 crore meal servings), hygiene products and educational supplies.

 

 

 

About The Akshaya Patra Foundation

 

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that strives to address classroom hunger and malnutrition in India. By implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in Government and Government-aided schools, Akshaya Patra aims to fight hunger and, at the same time, bring children to school. Since 2000, Akshaya Patra has worked towards reaching out to children with wholesome food on every single school day. The Foundation is continuously leveraging technology to cater to millions of children. Its state-of-the-art kitchens have become a subject of study and attract curious visitors from around the world.

 

In partnership with the Government of India and various State Governments and the inestimable support of many philanthropic donors and well-wishers, Akshaya Patra has grown from humble beginnings serving just 1,500 school children across five schools to becoming the world’s largest (not-for-profit run) mid-day meal programme, serving wholesome food to over 1.8 million children from 19,039 schools across 13 states and one union territory in India.