Future of a few million students is at stake

Over 17 lakh candidates have already downloaded their admit cards for JEE and NEET, and this shows that the students want the exams to be conducted at any cost. While the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is scheduled to be held on September 13, engineering entrance exam JEE-Main has been planned from September 1-6. Around 8.58 lakh candidates have registered for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)–Main and 15.97 lakh students have registered for NEET. Unfortunately, the scheduling of the JEE and (NEET) has become a subject of controversy.
These exams have already been deferred twice in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The JEE-Mains was originally scheduled to be held from April 7-11, but postponed to July 18-23, NEET-UG was originally scheduled for May 3, then pushed to July 26. They were postponed again and are now scheduled in September. The dates have been finalised after two rounds of postponement due to the pandemic. Both exams are competitive and students often enroll in coaching institutes years ahead to prepare. The Centre and pro-exam students argue that postponing the exams again would lead to the loss of an academic year, and additional burden for students. On the other hand, those against the exams being held now say that many students are handling multiple crises — natural calamities, lack of safe transport, absence of accommodation near test centres, and the fear of transmitting the coronavirus to their families. It’s unfortunate that some vested interests are playing with the future of aspiring students with unreasonable demands to postpone JEE and NEET. Students spend more than a year to prepare for these exams and are eager to appear in them. What we need to do at this hour is not to make them anxious and stressed, but to provide psychological support and not wreck their confidence. Our students are our nation’s asset. We should do everything possible to make sure that they are able to seamlessly move on in the pursuit of their higher education goals.
Any further delay in conducting these exams will lead to loss of one complete academic year for the students. It can upset their future plans and employment opportunities. The fact that more than 86% of candidates have already downloaded their admit cards for the exam clearly shows that they are inspired to sit in the exam

- Prabhakar Purandare

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