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Petition Filed at Supreme Court On Conducting NEET 2020 After COVID-19 Subsides

After parents writing to Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal, now students have started their petition against conducting NEET 2020 amid COVID-19. 11 students of 11 states have filed a petition at Supreme Court demanding further postponement of NEET 2020 and JEE Main until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control in India. The petition was filed by Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastav on behalf of all the 11 students. The grounds of petition are indefinite postponement of CLAT and cancellation of board exams by the government.

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Previously, a group of parents had written to Education Minister, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal, demanding that the entrance exams like NEET 2020 and JEE Main be cancelled amid COVID-19, as it poses a health risk to their children and the whole family. In a recent report, KCET was held in various districts in Kerala where almost 60 asymptomatic students were found COVID-19 positive. Important thing to note here is that the number of appearing candidates was almost 1.5 lakh, around 10% of NEET (UG) candidates.

On the other hand, many students want to get over with the exams as not conducting the exams could be detrimental for their career. It could affect the whole academic year for them and delay their studies.

As per the petition filed at Supreme Court, there are three major demands of students-

  1. Entrance Exams such as NEET must be conducted only after order is re-established post the COVID-19 crisis.
  2. Test centres must be increased. There should be at least one exam centre in each district of India.
  3. Students and aspirants of NEET (UG) or JEE Main should be provided a fresh opportunity to fill application forms and select exam centres from scratch.

Currently, NEET (UG) 2020 is scheduled for 13th September 2020, after multiple postponements. The NEET 2020 Admit Card might be released 15 days before the exam date, which could be near the end of August. Do comment over what should be proposed by the government!

#PostponeJEE_NEETinCovid Starts Trending on Twitter, Students Want NEET 2020 Postponed

COVID-19 has stopped students from going on streets and starting a movement against conducting NEET 2020. However, these movements are now being run on the internet, as usual. With the help of twitter and facebook, students are trending the hashtag – #PostponeJEE_NEETinCovid to bring the attention of authorities. Various exams conducted recently, such as KCET had no social distancing between students even after several assurances from the authorities. 60 students who were attending this exam were found COVID-19 positive.

The NEET 2020 is scheduled to be conducted a week after JEE Main 2020 i.e. on 13th September 2020. The date is almost 43 days away from the date of publishing this article. As of today, the number of daily COVID-19 cases in India have reached a new record of 57,000+. Within every two days, the country is adding 1 lakh cases. Many are justifying this jump due to an increase in testing in the past few days. However, it shows that the country might not be able to cover the gap of active vs recovered cases of COVID-19.

The Aam Aadmi Party, Bihar has supported students for this cause by tweeting with the hashtag.

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It is no doubt that the regular rise in cases has worried students and parents. UGC guidelines on conducting final year exams for colleges have already faced backlash from students. Meanwhile, Delhi University cancelled their exams until the situation was back in control. In another tweet, the National Secretary of All India Students’ Association (AISA), also tweeted in support of students.

Students have been regularly posting tweets and tagging the education minister, Mr Ramesh Pokhriyal, to postpone or even cancel the NEET 2020 exam. He has regularly ensured that health and safety of students is the first priority. Moreover, schools and colleges have been shut for another month. It is clear that the decision to postpone NEET 2020, which will have a participation of at least 15 lakh students altogether, would ensure safety of students only. Although, there has been no statements regarding postponing the medical entrance any further.

Parents Concerned Over COVID-19, Request Ministry of Health To Postpone NEET 2020

It is no doubt that health and safety is the topmost priority of every individual amid the soaring numbers of COVID-19 in the country. Education Minister, Mr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, also gave a statement that the health of students is the top priority for the government. Considering the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases, and the extended lockdowns, NEET 2020 was postponed. From 1st week of May to 26th July 2020. Check NEET 2002 Revised Exam Dates

But the numbers in major metropolitan cities of India primarily – Mumbai and Delhi, have increased exponentially. This has made parents even more concerned about the safety of their children and their own. With these concerns, many parents have written to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to postpone the NEET 2020 and JEE Main 2020. Both the exams are conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) which comes directly under government.

No Response on NEET by Govt

After the cancellation of CBSE and ICSE Boards, students and parents have been waiting for a response from MHRD on the status of NEET 2020. On one hand, the exam is a deciding factor for the career of students, they are consistently in opposition to conducting the exams. Students are replying to Mr Pokhriyal and NTA with hashtags such as #NoExamsInCovid and #HealthOverNEETJEE.

Meanwhile, in a recent interview of Mr Pokhriyal by Zee News, he stated that there is no decision on change of dates for either NEET 2020 or JEE exams. A further change will depend on the severity of the situation.

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Multiple Obstacles Faced

Students are citing multiple reasons for their inability to attempt the exam. Several students travel to exam centres using public transport as they do not have a private vehicle. Full lockdown imposed in the containment zones will be a hindrance. Similarly, a few students stranded abroad due to some reason cannot travel back due to international travel restrictions. There are several similar issues related to mental and physical health.

As per the reports, a large number of concerned parents have written to the Ministry of Health, requesting the cancellation of exams or postponement. NEET 2020 is scheduled for last week of July. The release of the NEET 2020 Admit Card is expected for the second week of July 2020. Mute response from the government has made students and parents even more worried. Students will be exposed in large crowds which will directly threaten the health of the whole family. Meanwhile, schools and colleges are to remain shut till July 31 as per Unlock 2.0 guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs. A varying response from various departments of the government is making students even more anxious.