Overseas exam centres for NEET-2020 not possible, NTA tells SC
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: The National Testing Agency has told the Supreme Court that it is not possible to have overseas examination centres for National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) Undergraduate (UG) 2020 as the examination is conducted in a paper book format.
In an affidavit filed on August 11, the National Testing Agency (NTA) saidexamination cannot be conducted in cities abroad as NEET (UG) has to be conducted in a single shift at the same time on the same day to maintain uniformity.
“Further, the question papers and other exam materials are to be transported from NTA headquarters to a large number of examination centres in various cities, which would require meticulous planning for safe and secure delivery of the same at the examination centres on time,” the affidavit stated.
NTA had duly consulted the Medical Council of India (MCI) regarding the students’ demand for overseas test centers. However, the MCI has clarified that as the examination is conducted through Multiple Choice Questions in a paper book format given to all candidates and, uniformity has to be maintained for all candidates, therefore, NEET (UG) examination should not be conducted in online mode for candidates abroad, it added.
“Unlike for JEE (Main), the question papers and other exam materials for NEET (UG) have to be transported from NTA headquarter to the large number of examination centres in various cities, which would require meticulous planning for safe and secured delivery of the same at the examination centres on time. But such rigorous preparations are not required for JEE (Main), for which the question papers can be delivered to the examination centres half an hour before the examination in password-protected online mode. Comparatively much more preparations are required to be made for the smooth conduct of the NEET (UG). Also as per the norms of MCI, NEET (UG) has to be conducted in single shift on a single day, in order to obtain the same level of difficulty in the question paper for all candidates,” the affidavit added.
The examination is scheduled to be held on September 13, 2020. The affidavit of NTA was filed on a plea seeking directions to hold NEET centres in Gulf countries.
The plea, filed by parents of nearly 4,000 NEET (undergraduate) candidates, has sought to alternatively postpone the examination until the COVID-19 pandemic normalises.
The parents of these candidates, who reside in Doha, Qatar, Oman, and UAE, have approached the apex court challenging the Kerala High Court June 30 order which had dismissed their plea.
In their appeal against the Kerala High Court order, the general secretary of Kerala Muslim Culture Centre in Qatar, Abdul Azeez said that the NTA had the capability and willingness to open exam centres in Gulf countries as they had been doing so for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) (Main). The petition contended that the NTA has said it would open examination centres abroad only if the MCI approved the proposal. The MCI, in its communication dated May 21, said that the online test for NEET is not possible, the plea in apex court stated.
“During these exceptional circumstances, the MCI and the Union government need to be flexible so as to facilitate these students to sit for NEET,” the plea said. It said most students had registered with Indian embassies in Qatar, Oman, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia to travel to India on Vande Bharat mission flights and appear in the examination for admissions to MBBS and BDS courses in medical colleges, but they could not get seats on the flights as priority was given to other categories of passengers stuck abroad.