NEET, JEE debate intensifies: 10 latest developments

NEET and JEE examinations are scheduled to take place in September.
Lakhs of students appear in these career defining examinations every year in the country.(HT Photo)
Lakhs of students appear in these career defining examinations every year in the country.(HT Photo)
Published on Aug 27, 2020 02:39 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | | Edited by Abhinav Sahay

The political debate raging over the conduct of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) has intensified on Thursday with several experts and politicians, expressing contrasting opinions on the issue. While several voices in favour of holding the important examinations have emerged over the last 24 hours, those opposed to the tests citing the coronavirus disease are far from giving up. Here’s a list of 10 most important developments that have taken place in the last 24 hours.

1. After the Union education minister expressed his disappointment over opposition’s stand against the conduct of NEET on September 13 and JEE Main from September 1-6, citing future of lakhs of students appearing for the papers, the home minister of BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh government his urged the opposition to not make it an “issue”. Narottam Mishra said that the NEET and JEE examinations are not any other examination and the students passing these examinations contribute to nation-building therefore holding them was essential.

2. Over 150 academicians from various universities in India and abroad have also thrown their weight behind holding the examination. They have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that delaying the medical and engineering entrance exams any further will mean compromising the future of students. They also alleged that some people are trying to play with the future of students by opposing the conduct of the examinations to propel their own political agenda. The signatories include academicians from the Delhi University, IGNOU, Lucknow University, JNU, BHU, IIT Delhi and Indian academicians from foreign universities such as University of London, University of California, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ben Gurion University, Israel, among others.

3. Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar has also advocated the conduct of the examination as per the schedule in September so that students don’t have to deal with a zero academic year in their careers. He said that the authorities should be trusted with enforcing necessary standard operating protocols to safeguard the students at the examination centres.

4. Uttarakhand government officials have said that they will be following the Centre’s guidelines and conduct the examinations as per the schedule. They said the board examinations held in the state, figuring a greater number of students, gives them the required confidence to hold the twin tests successfully despite the concerns around the pandemic.

5. Members of Uttarakhand unit of National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) staged a protest on Wednesday demanding postponement of the entrance exams. The protesters burned an effigy of Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, the Union minister of education. They also alleged that apart from the threat presented by the coronavirus pandemic, the incessant rains and the resultant landslides in various parts of the hilly state was likely to inconvenience students in reaching examination centres.

6. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday spoke out against the plan to conduct JEE and (NEET in the middle of Covid-19 pandemic. Yadav said the exams will put the lives of lakhs of students at risk. “Exams for life. This will not work, this will not work,” he tweeted in Hindi.

7. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday directed State advocate general Atul Nanda to coordinate with his counterparts in other Opposition ruled states for filing a collective review petition in the Supreme Court seeking deferment of NEET, JEE exams. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, in a meeting yesterday, had asked for governments in opposition-ruled states to jointly approach the Supreme Court seeking postponement of the two examinations. Captain Amarinder Singh had seconded her proposal in the meeting.

8. Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone and requested him to postpone NEET and JEE exams in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the flood situation in the state, news agency PTI reported. Patnaik had written to Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank with a similar request two days ago.

9. The Congress on Wednesday announced that it will hold countrywide protests on August 28 to oppose the government’s decision to hold NEET, JEE exams during the pandemic. Senior party leader KC Venugopal said the move is in line with concerted opposition to this “dictatorial move” of the government. State units of the Congress will be holding protests on Friday at 11 am in front of central government offices at state and district headquarters.

10. The national testing agency (NTA), which is conducting the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) on September 13 for admission to medical colleges, has increased the number of centres in Haryana from 30 to 40 this time. However, all the centres are located in the two cities of Gurugram and Faridabad-- among the worst affected by Covid in the state. As many as 16,298 candidates will appear for NEET this year in Haryana against last year’s 14, 686 aspirants. The number of centres in Haryana for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) stands at 16 this time as against the 15 last year.

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