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Govt forms panel to see if July NEET, JEE dates are feasible as deferment calls get louder

Held up by the Covid-19 lockdown, NEET and JEE are scheduled in July but students have been demanding a postponement amid the growing number of coronavirus cases.

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New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) is likely to take a decision on calls for deferring the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) and the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) in the coming days.

The two exams are aimed at admissions to medical and engineering colleges, respectively. Held up by the Covid-19 lockdown, they are scheduled for July but students have been demanding a postponement amid the growing number of coronavirus cases.

Taking cognisance of the concerns raised, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has asked the National Testing Agency (NTA), which oversees higher-education entrance tests, and other experts to submit a report by Friday on the ground situation and the possibility of conducting the exams amid the pandemic.

The minister said in a video message Thursday, shared through his official Twitter account, that they are looking into the ground situation. 

“I have been getting a lot of requests from NEET and JEE aspirants over email and on my social media asking the ministry to postpone the exams,” he said.

“Hence, we formed a committee with members of the NTA and other experts in it. I have asked the committee to assess the situation properly and submit a report by Friday,” the minister added. 

“A final decision on the exams will be taken based on the report of the committee, so that we can ensure the safety of students,” he said.

As things stand, NEET is scheduled for 26 July and JEE (Mains) from 18 to 23 July. 

However, students have been mounting online petitions and pursuing Twitter campaigns, and requesting the government to postpone the exams. 

Also Read: SC rules NEET necessary in national interest, doesn’t violate minority institutions’ rights

NRIs seek postponement too

Meanwhile, parents of nearly 4,000 NRI students based in West Asia filed a petition in the Supreme Court Wednesday to seek NEET postponement. They have noted that there are no centres outside India and international travel is still restricted.

“Students are helpless to write the examination as international travel is banned to and from India. Assuming that they have seats in Vande Bharat Mission flights, the students will be exposed to Covid-19 risks as also they would have to undergo quarantine on their arrival in India,” the parents, represented by advocates Haris Beeran and Pallavi Pratap, said in their petition

Also Read: Over 70% parents want schools to reopen only after 21 days of zero Covid cases: Survey


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