Government decides to go ahead with national level entrance exams against the wishes of students.

by Rohan Johnson

1st September 2020

Amidst the protests by engineering and medical aspirants, the Joint Entrance Exams (JEE) for admissions to engineering colleges began on Tuesday. Strict social distancing measures along with other precautions were taken by the authorities citing the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic in the subcontinent. The ‘new normal’ amid the pandemic was reflected outside exam centres across the country. The change was clear noticeable through the slower entry and exit for candidates, distribution of marks for everyone, sanitizers being provided at the gates and students maintaining a safe social distance with each other. The same precautionary measures will be taken while conducting the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) on 13 September.

A student protesting against the JEE NEET exams being held amidst the pandemic.

Press releases issued by the National Testing Agency (NTA) over the past two weeks and conversations with officials of the agency help present an idea about the arrangements likely to be in place.

The changes imposed this time includes the likes of a comparatively higher number of centres holding the exams, less students per room and social distancing norms in place. Ever since the COVID-19 Pandemic started, JEE and NEET will be the first major exams to take place in the country which is seeing more than 70,000 cases every day. The official figures for the number of registrants of JEE and NEET stand at 8.58 lakh and 15.97 lakh respectively.

The new arrangements haven’t been limited to inside of the examination halls, as the students have to maintain social distancing norms outside the halls as well while waiting for the test to start. There will be personnel checking the temperature of all the students along with proper thermal screening for all the aspirants at each and every exam centre. If anyone is found to be having high temperature, they will be given a separate room for writing the exam in isolation.

According to the National Testing Agency, there are now 660 test centres for JEE main, an increase from the usual number of 570 and for NEET it’s now 3,843 from 2,546, marking a significant increase. The number of students who will be seated in a room has also been revised by NTA to 12 per room from the previous number of 24.

Sources: TOI, Hindustan Times, The Print

Edited by Hrishit Roy

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