Headlines August 27, 2020
NEET & JEE exams to be held in September despite protests
Despite growing opposition from many quarters, the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts various entrance examinations, will hold the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) as planned. The NEET will be held on 13 September and JEE from 1 to 6 September.
The decision comes despite protests from students, parents, activists and politicians across India. They have been calling for the exams to be postponed due to the Covid crisis. India has reported over 3.2 million cases and over 53% of the country lives in places that are under either complete, partial, or weekend lockdown.
Out of the 734 districts in the country, lockdown orders are in place for 345. This means many students will not be able to appear for the entrance exams.
On 17 August, the Supreme Court rejected a plea seeking for the postponement of these exams saying a crucial year of students cannot be wasted and life has to go on.
Thousands of engineering and medical aspirants have taken to social media platforms to express their anger towards the decision to hold exams during a pandemic. Various students’ associations have come together. The Congress’s student body, National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), is starting a hunger strike from today.
The NTA, the central government body which conducts exams, has formulated a special procedure to conduct the exams. In addition to making masks, gloves, thermo-guns, and sanitisation mandatory at the centres, it has also increased the number of centres to meet the social distancing requirements.
The number of examination centres have also been increased from 570 to 660 (in case of JEE Main) and from 2,546 to 3,843 (in case of NEET (UG) 2020). To ensure proper social distancing inside the examination halls, the candidates will be seated in alternate seats in case of JEE (Main). In case of NEET (UG), the number of candidates per room has been reduced from 24 to 12. For ensuring social distancing outside the examination hall, the entry and exit of candidates has been staggered – National Testing Agency
Political leaders across the spectrum have expressed concerns over conducting the exams and the possible impact on the health crisis. This includes leaders from the BJP.
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