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Partha to Centre: Defer JEE and NEET

Travelling to exam centres at a time when transport is scarce is bound to pose a serious threat, an official of the state education department has said
Partha Chatterjee

Subhankar Chowdhury   |   Calcutta   |   Published 30.08.20, 02:24 AM

Education minister Partha Chatterjee on Saturday asked Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank why he wanted to “jeopardise” the future of students by forcing them to write the JEE-Main and NEET exams during the pandemic.

In a tweet three days before the start of JEE-Main, Chatterjee said: “Amid this global pandemic, @ Dr RP Nishank can you guarantee the safety of nearly 30 lakh students who have registered for JEE and NEET exams? With the transport system not fully operational, why do you want to jeopardise their future so desperately? Immediately postpone the exams!”

The JEE-Main exams, through which most engineering colleges admit undergraduate students, are to be held from September 1 to 6.

The National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET), through which all medical colleges admit undergraduate students, is scheduled for September 13.

After chief minister Mamata Banerjee had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday and Tuesday that the exams should be postponed, education minister Chatterjee made a fresh appeal before the Union minister.

Pokhriyal on Wednesday justified holding the examinations during the pandemic and said the central government was under pressure from parents and students to conduct the tests.

Travelling to exam centres at a time when transport is scarce is bound to pose a serious threat, an official of the state education department said.

“Besides, health risk stemmed from the fact that students will have to turn up at centres to write the tests at a time when any kind of phy-sical assembly is being discouraged as a precaution against Covid,” the official said.

Although the authorities that conduct the exams have issued guidelines on the precautionary measures to be taken by the students and others, any sort of assembly can pose a risk, he said.

Minister Chatterjee has convened a virtual meeting with vice-chancellors on Monday afternoon to discuss when and how the examinations will be held for final-year undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The apex court had ordered on Friday that graduating students would have to write exams. The court had upheld a directive of the UGC issued on July 6.

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