As the dates for the NEET and JEE exams are getting closer, students across India are protesting – fasting, wearing black bands, and voicing indignation at the uproar on social media.
In addition to the COVID-19 danger, students from flood-hit states such as Bihar, Gujarat, and Assam, students from rain-hit districts in Kerala, and students from Jammu and Kashmir where internet restrictions continue will have difficulty traveling to examination centers as transportation options are limited.
On day one, almost 44% of JEE candidates in Lucknow district managed to stay away from the exam. Of the 1065 candidates scheduled to be present in Lucknow, 597 have taken the test and 469 were absent, said Abhishek Prakash, DM of Lucknow.
Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal stated that 75% of candidates could not attempt JEE Main 2020 on Tuesday while only half managed to attend exams in other states due to COVID-19.
The national shutdown also meant job reductions and pay cuts for parents of some students, who now complain they can’t afford private-vehicle to send their kids to exam centers. This year more than 8.58 lakh students registered for the JEE Main and 15.97 lakh for NEET (UG).
Also Read : JEE Main and NEET 2020 Exams Cancelled?
JEE Main was scheduled for September 1 to 6, while the JEE (Advanced) is scheduled to be held on September 27. The NEET will take place on September 13. Lakhs of student sit each year for the two tests, and the preparations for the two are an industry to themselves.
- However, this year the health crisis is still in motion amid a noticeable pause in the academic calendar. The numbers for corona positive patients keep rising.
- Not only is the health risk presented by the large number of students who need to participate in test centers, but also the issue of how they will participate in the tests.
- Many administrations have put locations under lockdowns on the basis of necessity to prevent corona virus spread.
- Moreover, some hopefuls may themselves be in the quarantine of themselves, at home or institutionally.
The question of getting to the test centers
Students from rural areas and less-privileged groups would not be able to enter the exam centers. They would suffer a significant disadvantage over their wealthy counterparts.
Although the National Testing Agency has tried to persuade students to send the exams in many forms, students aren’t prepared to budge. The agency has increased the number of examination centers for the JEE from 570 to 660 and for NEET from 2,546 to 3,843, has made online admission cards available, and has also confirmed that precautionary measures such as providing sanitizers at the centers’ entry and exit points will be taken and social distancing will be practiced during the test.
What about disadvantaged students and people with disabilities?
Student organizations such as AISA, SFI, and NSUI, among others, have launched persistent campaigns on social media to demand the cancelation or postponement of examinations. On social media, the Twitter hashtag # ProtestAgainstExamsinCovid is used to express indignation and dissent.
Students across India are against any exams but the #ModiGovt has turned a deaf ear to them. We want no politics but simply the Govt. to #postponeNEETandJEE#NEETJEEpostponekaro #MODIJI_POSTPONEJEENEET #StudentsKeMannKiBaat #ProtestAgainstExamsInCOVID #PostponeNEETJEE_Today pic.twitter.com/XdXk7QHSFs— FURKAN ANSARI (@F_Ansari_Godda) August 26, 2020
First, there are NEET and JEE exams, second, UPSC exams, then NDA, then CLAT, then Delhi University Entrance exam, and so on. Students say the government sent them home during the lockout, no public transport is available, and several states have been hit by flooding and heavy rainfall. The cases of corona virus are only on the increase. In this case, the government is asking students to risk their health and that of their parents because there is an insufficient state of healthcare in the country.
The decreased income and lost work for many aspiring students’ parents, and questioned how the long commute would be handled by the students’ disabilities.
Clamor within the nation
The Supreme Court has already rejected a petition to postpone the tests and has instructed the Center to accommodate those who wish to give the NEET tests and are stuck outside the country on home flights from Vande Bharat. The Indian Medical Council, which organizes the NEET, has maintained that the test cannot be further referred to the apex court.
Political officials, activists, sets of guardians, and students within the country have called for the exams to be postponed until there is a clear indication that COVID-19 spread has been brought under control.
Leader of Congress Rahul Gandhi, president of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam M.K. Stalin were voices in the chorus along with chief ministers Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal and Naveen Patnaik of Odisha.
More than 4,200 students observed a day-long hunger strike on Sunday to press for the postponement not only of NEET and JEE but also of CLAT, UGC-NET, and CBSE Class 10 and Class 12 compartment exams.
India actually has the world’s third-largest number of events. Any decision to reopen institutions and administer exams requires careful consideration of local circumstances and is best left to states.
The corona virus pandemic is an event that occurs once in a century. Students feel disenfranchised by the absolute gap within the central government between their concerns and decision-makers.