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JEE rejects date plea

The state JEE board has rejected a plea by Christian organisations to tweak this year’s exam dates to prevent them from clashing with Easter.

The JEE (engineering) tests — physics, chemistry and maths — are scheduled for Easter Sunday, April 20. The biology test will be held on April 19.

JEE board chairman Bhaskar Gupta said it would be impossible to revise the dates now. “The dates were fixed several months back. The (Christian) organisations should have informed us about their problem earlier,” said Gupta.

Father Moloy D’Costa, the secretary of the West Bengal Association of Christian Schools, an organisation of representatives of church bodies running educational institutions, had written to the board requesting it to change the date of the engineering entrance tests.

A board official explained that any change at this stage is impossible as a number of national-level entrance tests are slated between mid-April and mid-May. Such exams are usually held on Sundays and the board chose April 20 as no other exam was scheduled for that day, said the official.

The board cannot advance the JEE as that would make the test coincide with the Class XII exams of various boards. “We can’t defer it either as entrance exams are slated for the next few Sundays,” the official said.

A church official, however, said the bodies conducting the national-level exams have not scheduled any test for April 20 “precisely because” it’s Easter. “We are shocked at the ignorance of the state JEE board.”

Jesus Christ’s crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday and Easter celebrates his resurrection.

Church sources said the Easter, like Christmas and Good Friday, is a significant religious occasion for Christians.

D’Costa said the Easter prayers begin after sunset on Saturday and are followed by elaborate prayers on Sunday. “For every Christian it’s a must to attend the Sunday service on this day,” he said.

“Christian students will be inconvenienced if they are forced to write the test on April 20. Teachers and other employees of Christian institutions, too, will not be able to perform the rites as the campuses will be taken over by the JEE board and they will have to turn up for exam duty.”

Herod Mullick, of Bangiya Christiya Pariseba, said they were being flooded with complaints over the test date from Christian members. “We are astonished to see that one of the JEE dates coincides with Easter,” said Mullick.