Students want JEE, NEET to be conducted; over 17 lakh have downloaded admit cards: Pokhriyal


File photo: Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank'

File photo: Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’

Over 17 lakh candidates have already downloaded their admit cards for JEE and NEET, and this shows that the students want the exams to be conducted at any cost, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” said on Thursday.

His comments came amid a growing chorus for postponement of the medical and engineering entrance exams in view of a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“National Testing Agency (NTA) officials told me that over seven lakh candidates have downloaded the JEE-Main admit cards while over 10 lakh aspirants have downloaded the NEET admit cards. This shows that the students want the exams be held at any cost,” Ramesh Pokhriyal said.

“We have received mails from students and parents who are in favour of holding the exams, as they have been preparing for the exams for at least two to three years. The Supreme Court too opined that a full academic year cannot be wasted. After two deferments, the exam dates have been finalised,” he added.

While the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is scheduled to be held on September 13, engineering entrance exam JEE-Main has been planned from September 1-6. Around 8.58 lakh candidates have registered for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)-Main and 15.97 lakh have registered for the NEET.

The exams have been deferred twice in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The JEE-Mains was originally scheduled to be held from April 7-11, but was postponed to July 18-23. The NEET-UG was originally scheduled for May 3, but was pushed to July 26. Subsequently, the exams were postponed again and are now scheduled in September.

The issue, which has been a matter of intense public discourse for the last few months, has evoked contrasting views with many backing the holding of the tests and arguing that not doing so would result in a “zero academic year” for students, while opposition parties and a section of activists are demanding postponement of the exams in view of the pandemic.

The Congress and various other opposition parties have demanded that the examinations be deferred due to the pandemic and floods in certain parts of the country, even as the government has made it clear that the tests will be held according to the schedule and with due precautions.

Last week, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking postponement of the two exams amid a spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, saying a “precious” academic year of students “cannot be wasted” and that life has to go on.

Increasing the number of examination centres, an alternative seating plan, fewer candidates per room and staggered entry and exit are among the steps the NTA will take for safely conducting the NEET and JEE in September.