JEE, NEET exams on course owing to ‘constant pressure from parents and students’ says Education Minister

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Even as the the chorus for deferring the scheduled JEE and NEET examinations continues to grow louder from all corners of the country, Centre has decided to go ahead with the examinations, which require physical presence of examinees in the examination hall, as scheduled.

In an interview with government broadcaster DD News, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said that the all India entrance examinations for admission to engineering and medical courses will be held due to “constant pressure from parents and students”.

Confirming that 80 per cent of the students have already downloaded their Admit Cards, Pokhriyal said, “We have been under constant pressure from parents and students, asking why we are not allowing JEE and NEET. Students were very worried. In their minds they were thinking for how long will they continue to study. Out of 8.58 lakh students who registered for JEE, 7.25 lakh candidates have downloaded their admit cards. We are with students. Their safety comes first, then their education,” Mr Nishank said.

The JEE (Main) examination is scheduled to be held between September 1 and September 6 and the NEET examination will be held on September 13.

In line with guidelines on hygiene and sanitation protocols during the raging pandemic, arrangements are being made to sanitize exam centres before and after each shift. Fresh face masks and gloves, which would be provided on demand, will be handed out to all students as well. It will be mandatory for students to wear masks and hand gloves and they will have to carry their personal water bottle and hand sanitizer to the examination hall.

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Entry to examination centres will be allowed post a thermal scan and the process would be staggered to maintain distancing. Every exam centre will have an isolation room for students whose body temperature is high.

Politicians from across the country including BJP MP Dr Subramanian Swamy, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Chirag Paswan, Tejashwi Yadav, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sosodia and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi besides climate activist Greta Thunberg have requested the Centre to postpone the examinations for now in view of the pandemic.

“In our last video conference with the Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi Ji, I had been vocal against the UGC guidelines mandating completion of terminal examinations in Universities/Colleges by the end of September 2020, which had a huge potential to put student lives at risk,” Mamata said on Twitter.

The Supreme Court had earlier observed: “The careers of students cannot be put under jeopardy. Life cannot be stopped. We have to move ahead with all safeguards. Are students ready to waste a whole year? Education should be opened up. COVID-19 may continue for a year more. Are you going to wait another year?”

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