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No plans to postpone JEE, NEET, but final decision lies with education ministry, says MHA

Govt’s decision to go ahead with JEE and NEET despite there being no let-up in the Covid-19 pandemic has angered students and parents across the country.

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New Delhi: The Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) Main and the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) look unlikely to be postponed despite student protests around the country. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) says the final decision lies with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the latter has reiterated its commitment to go ahead with the exams next month.

The JEE (Main) and the NEET (undergraduate) — meant for admissions to engineering and medical colleges, respectively — are scheduled for the first half of September. While the JEE Main is slated between 1 and 6 September, the NEET will be held 13 September.

The government’s decision to go ahead with the exams despite there being no let-up in the Covid-19 pandemic has angered students and parents across the country. While the government insists it will be employing proper precautions, opponents of the decision have cited the fact that students will have to undertake travel to appear for the exam, which they say is ill-advised at the time. 

Other objections raised include the disruptions dealt to preparations by the lockdown imposed to check Covid-19.

Speaking to ThePrint, a source in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) — which has been coordinating the entire lockdown and Unlock efforts — clarified that there is no plan to postpone the exams as yet.

The ultimate decision to hold or postpone the exams will lie with the MoE, the source said.

The source reiterated this when asked about letters written to the central government by Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal) and Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) seeking a postponement of the exams. “That is something that needs to be looked into by the MoE. They will take a call.”

The National Testing Agency (NTA), the agency under the MoE that conducts the exams, has clarified twice since Friday that the exams will take place as scheduled. 

“The Supreme Court has ordered that there is absolutely no justification in the prayer made for postponement of the examination in question relating to NEET UG-2020 as well as JEE (Main) April, 2020,” the NTA said in a statement Tuesday.

“The NTA has, since then, released Admit Cards of JEE (Main) Examination. The Admit Cards of NEET (UG) 2020 will also be released shortly,” it added.  

Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has also said that they will go ahead with the exams. “A lot of parents had written to us asking when will NEET and JEE exams take place and how long can a child keep preparing for exams, which is why we decided to go ahead with exams after postponing them twice,” Pokhriyal said in an interview to DD News Tuesday, when asked whether the government plans to postpone the exams.

Also Read: Thermal screening, isolation rooms — how govt plans to hold NEET, JEE Mains amid Covid risks

‘Proper precautions taken’

The JEE is a computer-based test while the NEET (UG) is a pen- paper-based exam. The government has been saying that they have made all arrangements to ensure smooth conduct of both.

In its statement Tuesday, the NTA said it has ensured that more than 99 per cent of the candidates get their first choice of centre cities — or cities where they will take the exams.

The number of examination centres has also been increased to 660 from 570 for JEE and 3,843 from 2,546 for NEET, it added. 

“Additionally, in case of JEE (Main), the number of shifts has been increased from the earlier 8 to 12, and the number of candidates per shift has been reduced from earlier 1.32 lakh to 85,000 now,” the statement added.

For the year 2020-21, 8.58 lakh candidates have registered for JEE (Main) and 15.97 lakh for NEET (UG).

“In order to meet the social-distancing requirements, there has been a substantial increase in the number of centres. In order to ensure proper social distancing inside the examination halls, the candidates will be seated in alternate seats in case of JEE (Main). In case of NEET (UG), the number of candidates per room has been reduced from earlier 24 to 12, now,” it said.

“For ensuring social distancing outside the examination hall, the entry and exit of candidates has been staggered. Adequate arrangements have also been made outside the examination centres to enable candidates to stand with adequate social distancing, while waiting,” the statement added.

A detailed advisory has already been issued by the agency for both exam invigilators and candidates. It includes asking students to wear masks, sanitise their hands when they enter the exam hall, and maintain distance.

Also Read: SC rejects plea seeking further postponement of JEE (Main) & NEET-UG exams amid Covid spurt


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  1. The opposition has found another chance to make some noise by politicizing he issue. The children have been studying for months and they are mentally tired. Need to move on with life. Exams should be conducted atleast this time.

  2. Although no one wants to lose an ENTIRE academic year especially since medical and engineering courses take so many years but at least postpone till November. It will satisfy both the party who do not want to lose an entire year of their lives as well as the other party who wants postponement.

  3. Postponement is not final solution. But, for sure government in 2020 has fed in mind of students in 11th, 12th and colleges, how insensitive could it be. Most of these were erstwhile blind or not so blind Modi fans, moved by their PR, have been totally turned against.

    It is not that non-postponement has made students so. It is that how no one from government talked to students. The NTA director actually started blaming students for their misfortune in an interview. If exams were made to be held, the govt had duty to ensure no student has to travel more than 2-3 hours. Yes centers in total have been increased a bit. But problem was not the total number of centres. It was distribution of these centres. My sister in NEET aspirant. We live in Haryana, and have centers only in two cities in state. Now she willl have to travel 450km up and down. Bigger problem is we don’t know how to stay safely in a strange city. We don’t have relatives there and might need a hotel room in one day advance. Then comes the problem of food. Not easy in COVID times. Had centers be in smaller cities too, such havoc would never have happened. Govt had additional time to do so, but didn’t do it. NTA looked at its problem, but not at the ones faced by students. Top of that, these students and families are the ones who have followed all cautions, better than anyone else after doctors. They surely deserve better.

    Now many of these have went to the extent that they will immigrate to foreign. Total destructive step by GoI.

  4. When May/June exams were not held many states and few of the states awarded certificates like chocolates, the NEET/JEE is going to tough exercise, until SOP is put in place. Otherwise, it will another pandemic of exam mess up and court battles leading to the highest court intervening to stop admissions. COVID will be there, but life is important at this stage. If students write exams but did not live to join the admission has no meaning. There has to be balanced in taking decisions.

  5. The Hon’ble SC itself take suo moto this matter whether the JEE &NEET will be conducted better to safe the students from pandemic covide-19, as per present situation Hon’ble Courts cannot permit to clients inside court halls and also physical filling systems had been continuing, till sep 30.
    I request rise the matter again the REVIEW PETITION in Hon’ble SC. It is better to consider hope will be postpone.

  6. Not sure why some political parties and so called leaders are giving the colors of politics to these competitive exams. Yes, covid is there and it is likely to be there for another 6-12 months. Are we going to force everyone to waste their entire year? Life has to move on with right precautions. And, think about the endless agony and stress of over 99% applicants who are willing to write these exams..

  7. postpone jee neet to november atleast else student’s and their parents’s life will be at stake. Not all students are financially sound to support the high cost for covid treatment if they are affected .A month or two postponement can save so many lives. #postponeneetjee #savestudents

  8. Whatever Nishank sir said was lie. SOPs aren’t sufficient for exams. They failed in some of the previous exams like KCET,UPBEd,e, GUJCETtc. Majority of the students and parents want exams to be postponed. He is just manipulating media. Ground reality is different

    • What failed in GUJCET? It was conducted with more than 1 lakh students appearing for it? Wonder why no one made a hue and cry about it?

  9. Excellent decision to go ahead with NEET and JEE. Our State Leaders will open Arrack Shops and close down the Educational activities. Lakhs of students want the Exams to take place. They just do not want to lose one year. If the opposition decide to go to SC, parents must intercede with the SC and ask these petitioners how they are going to compensate for the loss of career which will have life long impact. All precautions must be taken to prevent the disease. But Exams must go on. Kudos to Dr Pokriyal and the MHA for their sensible decision. akp

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