Lot of unanswered questions in Thunberg’s approach to Indian education system: Nishank
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank feels there are a lot of “unanswered” questions in climate activist Greta Thunberg’s approach towards the Indian academic system.
He emphasised that the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)-Main and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) would be held in September for the interests of undergraduate engineering and medical degree aspirants, respectively, despite the nationwide raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
There has been growing concern about the competitive examinations being held amid the contagion that has claimed over 60,000 lives and infected more than 3.2 million Indians.
Earlier on Tuesday, the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts tests for higher educational institutions, had reaffirmed that the examinations would be held as scheduled. The JEE Main will be held between September 1 to 6 and the NEET on September 13 across 660 and 3,842 test centres, respectively, across the country.
Besides opposition parties, including West Bengal and Puducherry chief ministers Mamata Banerjee and V Narayansamy, respectively, there has been opposition from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its National Democratic Front (NDA) allies as well against holding the competitive examinations because of the pandemic.
However, Nishank told HT said that the government is empathetic and considerate about the cause of the students.
“Academic career is very important, and a zero academic year will cause tremendous loss to the students. Every day, I get innumerable mails from the silent majority,” the minister said.
Nishank also questioned Thunberg’s approach.
“Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist. I would like to know why she has championed the cause of Indian JEE-Main and NEET aspirants suddenly. Did she take up a similar cause of students in other countries? Does she understand the importance of Indian system of assessment? There are a lot of unanswered questions in her approach towards the Indian education system,” said Nishank.
The ministry and the NTA authorities are determined to hold the tests, despite the mounting pressure from several states and opposition parties.
Out of the total 8.58 lakh JEE-Main aspirants, 7.41 lakh candidates have downloaded their admit cards and are set to appear for the examination.
At present, 332 JEE-Main candidates have requested for a change of their centre cities, which is under consideration, a government official said.
While out of the total 15.97 lakh NEET aspirants, 6.84 lakh candidates have downloaded their admit cards in the first five hours after the process to appear for the examination started, the official said. The downloading process started at 11:55 am on Wednesday.