Chandigarh schools not keen on hosting entrance exams

Fearing an influx of students from various states amid rising cases of coronavirus, schools have expressed their reluctance in holding the examinations.
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Published on Jun 18, 2020 01:32 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | BySrishti Jaswal, Chandigarh

In the absence of any clear directions from the government, various private schools of Chandigarh have said no to functioning as examination centres for the entrance exams that are just weeks away.

Fearing an influx of students from various states amid rising cases of coronavirus, schools have expressed their reluctance in holding the examinations.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will conduct the pending board exams for 29 subjects between July 1 and 15, whereas the National Testing Agency will conduct the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) on July 26. The Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for engineering will be conducted from July 18 to July 23, and the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) will be held on July 5.

HS Mamik, president of Independent Schools Association (ISA), Chandigarh, said, “We are skeptical about conducting exams like NEET and CTET. There should be some sort of regulation with respect to doing that, but there are no instructions by the government. Centres for NEET have already been decided, most of the schools are not in a position to refuse. But my school, Vivek High School, has said we are not ready at the moment.”

St John’s High School, Sector 26, is a centre for both CTET and NEET. Principal Kavita Das said, “We are worried. There is no communication from the government regarding the standard operating procedures. Our teachers are supposed to be invigilators, but most of them fall under vulnerable categories, are elderly and/or have comorbidities. We can’t refuse but I am worried.”

“Many people from Punjab, Haryana and other states will be coming to give exams. Many of them will be asymptomatic. We won’t get to know about their condition by virtue of screening alone. This puts all teachers as well as children at risk,” she added. “No communication has been received regarding the material required for conducting these tests. Right now schools are already short on money as only the tuition fees is being charged. Will the government pay for the added expenses?” she asked.

The principal of a government school said, “The CBSE has asked schools to be centers for their own children, but at many of those centres will host private candidates as well. How can we ensure that there is no infection?”

Officials of the CBSE couldn’t be reached for comments.

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