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Owing to the novel COVID-19 outbreak, the HRD ministry has finally postponed NEET, JEE Main and JEE Advanced. NEET 2020 exam date is set on September 13, 2020.
NEET, JEE Main and JEE Advanced examinations were supposed to be conducted in the months of April and May. The ministry had to postpone the examinations due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown. It was anticipated that the condition will get better in the month of July and hence all the medical and engineering entrance exams were rescheduled to be conducted this month. NEET 2020 was all set to be conducted on July 26, 2020.
However, the COVID-19 cases are rising at a dangerous rate, reaching almost 21,000 on July 3. This has made the conducting of exams extremely impossible. Additionally, MHRD and NTA received thousands of messages from NEET and JEE Main aspirants, urging the authorities to postpone the exams as taking these exams would make lakhs of students vulnerable to the virus.
After the cancellation of CBSE examinations, JEE Main and NEET aspirants grew more anxious. Over the last month, numerous petitions were signed by both Indian and NRI students to act upon this matter. In fact, various hashtags such as #PostponeNEETJEE #NoExamsinCovid were trending on Twitter too.
Yesterday, MHRD set up a panel to discuss the logistics and other factors and asked the experts to send their recommendations by today. Observing the current scenario, NTA and MHRD had no choice but to postpone the exams to September. The news was declared by MHRD minister, Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal in a live webinar with Sunil Chettri and PV Sindhu.
Keeping in mind the safety of students and to ensure quality education we have decided to postpone #JEE & #NEET examinations. JEE Main examination will be held between 1st-6th Sept, JEE advanced exam will be held on 27th Sept & NEET examination will be held on 13th Sept. pic.twitter.com/klTjtBxvuw— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) July 3, 2020
It is quite evident that this tweet by Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” brought a sigh of relief to lakhs of students as it received a commendable 16,000 likes in no time. For now, the authority has set the NEET exam date on September 13, 2020, and NEET Admit Card will be issued 15 days prior to the exam. However, nothing concrete can be said presently, as it is very unlikely that the spread of the virus will curb by the end of August.
The Ministry for Human Resource Development will announce the new examination dates for NEET 2020 on 5th May 2020, Press Trust of India (PTI) tweeted. New dates for JEE Main 2020 will also be announced on the same date. New dates for NEET will be announced on the official website of NEET 2020 – ntaneet.nic.in – by NTA on behalf of the HRD Ministry. The examination dates along with the release of admit cards have been postponed by NTA to ensure the safety of students amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The dates have been postponed till the end of May 2020 as per the official notice. Many have prospected that the dates of examination will be delayed further until June.
COVID-19 lockdown: HRD Ministry to announce fresh dates for JEE, NEET on May 5
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) May 3, 2020
Will students remain safe?
Soon after the tweet by PTI, users started reacting adversely towards the proposition. A large number of users were mainly concerned about the safety of students. Conducting the examinations amid the growing pandemic poses a risk to the health of a large number of students. Moreover, it is possible that the young students might infect their aged parents too, who are at a higher risk due to increased death rates amongst the aged population. There has been no word regarding what measures will be taken for the safety of everyone, but it might be possible that exam authority has already made a decision on what precautions will be taken. It is being suggested that exam authorities will sanitize exam centers while conducting exams in single shifts over a period of around 2 weeks or 14 days.
Central vs State Lockdown
Many reactions from users were regarding state lockdowns. A bigger question towards the validity of exam dates will be, whether the state government will allow conducting the examination. There have been statements from various state governments that the lockdown in respective states will be followed until the end of June. There has been no clarification on disparity among state and central government over when the lockdown should be lifted off. Moreover, state governments have the power to impose a state-wide lockdown to ensure safety during COVID-19 pandemic. It is uncertain if the exams will be conducted even before June due to this.
While many students and parents felt peace after this announcement. The announcement of dates for NEET 2020 will help students get rid of the anxiety that has been hovering around for so many days. Students will have an assurance of admissions to colleges and universities. Mental pressure due to uncertainty of admissions had been growing among candidates. This announcement will probably help ease down the tensions among students and can focus back on studies.