After two months of Lockdown & hard-fought battle against COVID, now life is slowly coming back to normal. There is no denying that we have had to adopt a few changes like masks, sanitizers but we are learning to live with COVID until the medical fraternity comes up with a permanent solution. So now life with COVID is the new normal.
After the lockdown ended I have seen people flock the market, traffic has become normal with the annoying jams, offices have opened up again! But opposition to one of the Central government’s decisions by some people has raised serious contentions. The decision to conduct professional Course entrance exams like JEE, NEET, etc. Those in opposition have expressed that these exams should be postponed till the vaccine is found.
JEE – Joint Entrance Exams, is an engineering entrance examination conducted for admission to various engineering colleges in India. It is constituted by two different examinations – JEE Main and the JEE Advanced.
NEET – National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate), formerly the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), is an entrance examination in India for students who wish to study undergraduate medical courses (MBBS) and dental courses (BDS) in government or private medical and dental colleges in India.
These exams are usually held in the March-April time frame every year. But since this year, 2020, is a bit special with all the Corona pandemic, the exams have been postponed, keeping the safety of the students in mind. At first, it was postponed till after 31st March, then April, then May and then(after 5 times) finally on 3rd July 2020, Union Cabinet Minister for Education, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal announced final postponement to September 2020.
Keeping in mind the safety of students and to ensure quality education we have decided to postpone #JEE & #NEET examinations. JEE Main examination will be held between 1st-6th Sept, JEE advanced exam will be held on 27th Sept & NEET examination will be held on 13th Sept. pic.twitter.com/klTjtBxvuw
— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) July 3, 2020
Some people were still not happy and on August 6th, 2020, advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava filed a plea in Supreme Court on behalf of 11 students belonging to 11 states. The petitioners had urged the court to direct the Centre to hold JEE and NEET examinations only after normalcy is restored in the country. However, the supreme court dismissed the petition to defer the exams due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Justice Arun Mishra, who headed a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court asserted “Life cannot be stopped. We have to move ahead with all safeguards and all. Are students ready to waste one whole year? Education should be opened up. COVID may continue for a year more. Are you going to wait for another year? Do you know what the loss to the country and peril to the students is?”
National Testing Agency, the body that governs and conducts these exams, also issued a statement in accordance with the top court’s decision.
— National Testing Agency (@DG_NTA) August 21, 2020
Now the central government is left with no choice other than to follow the Supreme Court’s decision and they are going ahead with it. More than 16Lakh students have already registered and they have been given the freedom to change their examination centres. Multiple requests for the same have been catered to and they are open for further requests also.
So far we are not sure about the time frame when the vaccine will come. Various reports suggest that the earliest that a vaccine may be available would be at the end of 2020. Even if we consider this we are not sure what will be the time frame for mass production of the vaccine and when it will be actually available to the common people. Definitely it will take more than a year.
And if the students miss the complete batch for this year, the number of students appearing for the exams next year will be doubled(new aspirants + previous). So, it can create injustice for all the students in total as their chances to get selected for these seats will be reduced to half. But unfortunately, students are being misguided and misinformed by some people because of their political interests.
The worries and concerns of students and their families are completely understandable but they should be aware of the consequences of postponing these exams. And to assuage their fears and have a safe environment the NTA and the Government have taken several measures to provide the best possible arrangements and safety protocols.
One of the advisories of the NTA said, “All staff members and candidates to be checked with thermo guns at the entry point for fever. In case, any staff person and candidate is observed to be having above-normal temperature or displaying any symptom of Covid-19 suspect, they will be placed in separate Isolation Room”.
These days we often applaud corona warriors who are fighting the pandemic up close on the ground under hostile conditions. Students who will appear for these exams also need to be appreciated and encouraged in the same manner since they will be the ones working for the betterment of our future and society. They are the foundation of New India and its our collective responsibility as a nation to cater to their safety.
I hope the students who are opposing understand the perils of postponing the exams, rethink on it, and secure their future by cooperating with the administration to conduct the exams safely. Also, the opposition should stop misleading our youth for cheap political gains & let them contribute to building our nation.