New Delhi: If the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for engineering colleges is delayed any further from its current dates in September, the academic session at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will have to be completed in less than six months, IIT Delhi director V. Ramgopal Rao has told ThePrint.
Rao is supporting the central government’s insistence to hold the JEE and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical colleges in September. According to the current schedule, the JEE Mains is set for 1-6 September, while the JEE Advanced, meant for admission to the 23 IITs, is to be held on 27 September. IIT Delhi is the organising institute for the JEE Advanced this year.
“There should not be any further delay in NEET and JEE. If that happens, the academic session will be delayed a lot more than it already is,” Rao said.
“If the JEE happens according to the schedule, we at the IITs will still be able to finish the syllabus in six months. But if it’s delayed further, finishing the academic year will be almost impossible,” he said.
Detailing what another postponement would entail, Rao said institutes will have to work on weekends and forgo their holidays. But if the schedule is retained, “IITs should be able to start classes by the end of November or in December”, he said.
Rao also assured JEE aspirants that IIT Delhi is doing everything it can to ensure JEE Advanced takes place safely. “As the organising institute, we have made sure that we’ve made adequate arrangements for conducting the exam,” he said.
Rao has shared a detailed standard operating protocol (SOP) on his Facebook page. The SOP includes sanitising areas and equipment before and after each exam, maintaining a gap between two seats according to the government protocol, making hand sanitisers available at entry and inside the exam venue.
‘Postponement will mean more hardship for students’
While the government has maintained that NEET and JEE will be conducted as scheduled, students have continued to demand postponement for a variety of reasons — primarily health concerns and the fact that Covid has hit their preparations.
But the directors of other IITs too have supported the government’s stance.
“JEE is held multiple times in a year and students who don’t appear this time can write after six months. Keeping in mind the effort put in by students who have prepared for JEE Mains and their future, it is critical that the exams are conducted as scheduled,” Prof. T.G. Sitharam, director of IIT Guwahati, said.
“Delay in holding the exams will lead to serious repercussions for the students as well to IITs, and most of the year 2020 will be washed out,” Sitharam added.
Prof. Abhay Karandikar, director of IIT Kanpur, concurred.
“NTA (National Testing Agency) has taken several measures for conducting the exam in a safe and secure way. With extraordinary measures put up by NTA, I see no issues. Postponing the exam will put students in more hardship and mental agony,” Karandikar said.
‘Medical aspirants shouldn’t be scared of Covid’
Other institution heads too backed the government’s insistence on holding NEET and JEE in September.
A.K. Das, director of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Manipur, told ThePrint over the phone that medical aspirants who have to appear for NEET should not be afraid of Covid-related risks.
“If they are afraid, how will they become doctors? My wife is a doctor and she too believes that the exams should not be deferred anymore. It is not a solution,” Das said.