“Keeping in mind the safety of students and to ensure quality education we have decided to postpone #JEE & #NEET examinations,” said Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Nishank Pokhriyal.
A large number of students and parents’ associations have campaigned for the postponement or cancellation of the examinations
JEE and NEET, examinations for admission to undergraduate engineering and medical courses, have been postponed to September due to the COVID-19 pandemic, much to the relief of lakhs of worried students and parents.
“Keeping in mind the safety of students and to ensure quality education we have decided to postpone #JEE & #NEET examinations,” said Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Nishank Pokhriyal in a tweet on Friday evening.
Also read | NRI candidates seek NEET postponement
The Joint Entrance Examination-Main (JEE-Main) will be now be held from September 1 to 6; JEE Advanced will be held on Sept 27 and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) will be held on Sept 13, said Mr. Nishank.
A large number of students and parents’ associations have campaigned for the postponement or cancellation of the examinations, arguing that students’ lives and health must be protected at this time. On Wednesday, parents of NEET candidates living in West Asian countries filed a plea in the Supreme Court demanding that examination centres be set up in those countries or that the examination be postponed.
On Thursday, the Minister had set up a panel to review the situation. “Looking at the prevailing circumstances and requests received from students and parents appearing for JEE and NEET examinations, a committee consisting of [National Testing Agency Director General Vineet Joshi] and other experts has been advised to review the situation & submit its recommendations to HRD Ministry latest by tomorrow,” he had tweeted.
Overall, about 25 lakh students will be affected. There are about 9 lakh JEE-Main candidates and 16 lakh NEET candidates this year. Both examinations are conducted by the NTA. The postponement in the entrance examinations will lead to further delay in the beginning of the academic year for new students, potentially wiping out almost an entire semester. Usually, students start classes in August and the first semester runs till December.
JEE-Main was originally scheduled to be held between April 7 to 11, while NEET was scheduled for May 3, after school board examinations were completed. However, due to the spread of COVID-19, board examinations were interrupted as all schools were closed in mid-March, followed by a countrywide lockdown from March 24.
JEE-Main and NEET were then rescheduled to July 18-23 and July 26 respectively. For aspirants to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the JEE-Main is only the first stage, followed by the JEE-Advanced examination which had been rescheduled for August 23. However, although the lockdown has been lifted, the rising number of COVID-19 cases led to further concern of infection. Now, it remains to be seen if the spread of the virus slows down sufficiently over the next two months to safely hold the examination in September.
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