‘Safety vs Future’ A debate around Competitive examinations

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Attractive young Indian woman taking exam in classroom, holding pen and thinking
  • On July 3rd a notice issued by the National Testing Agency (NTA) states that the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE Main) and National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) exams will be held in September, which were earlier being conducted in April 2020 .
  • 11 students belonging from 11 states filed a plea. They demanded to postpone the examinations by keeping in mind the rising cases of Covid-19. Many parents and students are demanding to postpone the examinations, as they do not want to risk their lives. While in contradictory to this, many students and parents are relieved to finally hear a date.  
  • But on August 17th, the supreme court has dismissed the plea of students and parents who were seeking postponement of exams. The Supreme court said- A precious year of students “cannot be wasted” and life must go on.
  • Social media platforms such as Twitter were used by students to continue their protest from Monday. More than 4,000 students called for a day-long online hunger strike. And hashtags like- #PostponeJEEAndNEET and #StudentsLivesMatter have been trending on Twitter. The students of different countries are supporting Indian students. And they are also asking the officials to postpone the exams.
  • After this the Master of Home affairs said- There are still no such plans to postpone JEE, NEET but the final decision lies with the Education ministry.

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The Voice of Politicians:

  • Subramaniam Swami (BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member) urged PM to postpone exams till Diwali. He also stated that the Supreme court “doesn’t bind the govt. at all, on whether to now or two weeks later or two months later, the examinations. It is a policy decision of the govt.”
  • Manish Sisodia (Delhi dept. Chief Minister) on Saturday demanded central govt. to cancel the exams. And suggested to use alternative admission methods by keeping in mind the current Covid-19 situation.
  • Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary (Lok Sabha member) wrote to PM on Sunday. And urged to postpone the exams till the situation improves.
  • Rahul Gandhi (Congress leader) also demanded the exams to be delayed. And says that the govt. should listen to student’s ‘mann ki baat’ and come up with an ‘acceptable solution’.
  • Mamta Banerjee (West Bengal Chief Minister) also appealed the Centre to evaluate the risk. And postpone the exams until situation becomes healthier.
The general Exam pattern

Other than these many other ministers, students and parents are supporting the plead to extend the exams. As this decision is not pleasing them at the risk of the youth/ students.

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Statements made Education Experts:

But conflicting statements has been given by various authoritative person also.  Who are saying that a further delay in the examinations will lead a ‘zero academic year’. The IIT Directors have appealed students to trust institutions conducting the exams. Some statements by IIT Directors:

  • Ajit K Chaturvedi (Director of IIT Roorkee) said- “The pandemic has already disrupted the academic plans of many students and institutions, and we don’t see virus going anyway soon. We should not let this be a ‘zero academic year’ as it might have consequences on bright future of several students.
  • Sudhir K Jain (Director of IIT Gandhinagar) said- ‘There is no doubt that we are in an unprecedented health crisis due to the global pandemic and the parents and students concern is understandable. But we must also think about the future of our students who have been preparing for this for many years’.
  • Sarit Kumar Das (Director of IIT Ropar and member of Joint Admission board (JAB) said- that the decision of conducting exams has not been taken overnight. They have been looking at possibilities of exams from quiet some time. The points such as, infrastructure, safety and social distancing has also been discussed with health experts.

Current schedule of JEE and NEET 2020 examinations:

As per the notice issued by NTA, JEE (Main) April 2020 is scheduled from September 1 to 6. While NEET UG 2020 exams is scheduled on September 13.

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