It appears that the entrance examinations for IITs and undergraduate medical colleges, JEE and NEET, will take place on their allotted dates in September, with the government deciding against postponing them despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The confirmation that there would be no postponement first broke on legal news website Bar and Bench, which reported that Education Secretary Amit Khare had informed them that the exams would not be postponed.
They later added that the office of Union HRD (now Education) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had also confirmed that neither the JEE or NEET would be cancelled/delayed.
Government sources subsequently confirmed the development to NDTV.
On Monday, 17 August, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition by a group of students who had asked for the engineering and medical entrance tests to be deferred in light of the coronavirus crisis. The JEE (Main) exam is currently scheduled for 1-6 September, while the NEET exam is to be held on 13 September.
While dismissing the petition by the students, the bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari had said:
“We find that there is absolutely no justification in the prayer made for postponement of the examination in question relating to NEET UG-2020 as well as JEE (Main) April, 2020. In our opinion, though there is pandemic situation, but ultimately life has to go and the career of the students cannot be put on peril for long and full academic year cannot be wasted.”
The Centre had informed the apex court that stringent precautions would be taken to ensure risk of infection was minimised.
WHAT HAS THE NATIONAL TESTING AGENCY SAID?
The National Testing Agency (NTA) on Friday, 21 August, also confirmed the release of the Admit Cards for the examinations in a press release. They also confirmed that candidates for both the exams were given the opportunity to change their option for an exam centre five times, with 6.6 lakh candidates doing so for the JEE (Mains) and 95,000 for the NEET (UG).
The NTA also says that they have made “elaborate arrangements to sanitise the centres before and after the conduct of the examinations, give fresh masks and hand gloves (as per request).”
Based on guidelines from the MHRD (now MOE), the NTA has prepared advisories for all functionaries involved in management of the exam centres.
Along with the Admit Cards for the examinations, the NTA has “also issued ‘Important Instructions for Candidates’ as well as ‘Advisory for Candidates regarding COVID-19’ explaining them about the safety measures taken by the NTA and the support expected from the candidates for safe and successful conduct of these examinations.”