With the UK government announcing opening of educational institutes from September, some IELTS centres in Punjab have started online classes while others are preparing to launch them soon. The IELTS exam — an English language proficiency test that is a prerequisite for pursuing higher education abroad — is scheduled for this month, but the dates are not confirmed yet.
“We have started online classes through recorded messages and our website for students interested in completing their IELTS courses. We are also getting queries from students who had already cleared their IELTS before lockdown, about processing their files for visa purposes,” said Aditi, an executive of the Teachers Academy in Jalandhar.
“The schedule for IELTS has also been announced for July and mock tests are being conducted online,” she said.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that children will be able to go back to school in September.
The IELTS course is a month long and its exams usually take place every month, in which both spoken and written exams are conducted. Every country has its own band system for immigration purposes on a study basis or permanent residency basis. IELTS exams cleared with the required bands are valid for two years and a student can plan his/her immigration to the country of his/her choice.
Vibha Arora, a partner in Vision Vibha, an immigration institute in Nawanshahr which is facilitating students to study in Australia, Canada, and the UK, said they will be launching online classes within a week for IELTS courses.
She also said that a large number of students have already cleared their IELTS with good bands and can apply for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, but their files are stuck at the visa formalities stage due to lockdown. Even in the unlocking period from June 1, walk-in interviews at immigration offices are not allowed.
“It is difficult to survive if we do not run the online classes because educational institutes in most countries will not open before next year and the students who have cleared the IELTS and got admissions in foreign universities cannot not fly till the time they open. Hence our commissions will also be not paid by colleges and universities abroad,” said an IELTS institute owner in Jalandhar.
“With online classes, even if we charge half of the fee — which would be around Rs 6,000 per student — we can meet the basic needs,” he added.
RKM Global IELTS Institute, Jalandhar, said they have prepared online classes material because a large number of students are interested in attending such classes.
There are thousands of IELTS centres in Punjab, mainly in the Doaba region, an NRI hub of the state. They deal with conducting IELTS courses and facilitating students in getting admission in foreign colleges, as well as their visa formalities.
Several visa applications are pending because every year 1.5 to 2.0 lakh students go abroad from Punjab itself, which means 12,000 to 15,000 visa applications every month, said Vinod Gupta, who also deals in visa processing for students.
Meanwhile, under repatriation flights from Indian to USA, UK, a large number of people who are stuck here are flying to their destination countries including UK, USA, Canada, Australia etc. as MHA had notified that those people will be allowed to fly to the destination countries who are citizens of that country or hold a visa of at least one year duration of that country, and green card holder or OCI holder.
As far as students from India are concerned, only students, who had come to India and could not go back due to lockdown, are allowed to fly back and new students will have to wait till the time educational institutes are not opened abroad.
Chief Executive Officer, Chandigarh International Airport, Ajay Kumar told The Indian Express that under Vande Bharat Mission, repatriation flights are taking off and landing at Chandigarh airport and there are charter and ferry flights are scheduled for July 2 and 3 too. In Amritsar, only inbound flights are coming.
The tickets for these flights are sold online and hefty amounts are being charged.
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