Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has said that further changes in the JEE 2020 and NEET 2020 examination dates could lead to a zero academic year, causing tremendous loss to students.
In an interview to Hindustan Times, Nishank said that the government is very empathetic and considerate to the needs of the students.
JEE Main which is the entrance examination for entry into undergraduate engineering programmes and will be held between September 1 and 6. NEET (UG) 2020 will be held on September 13 and is the examination for entry into undergraduate medical programmes.
"Leaving the politics aside, a total of 7,41,000 candidates out of 8,58,000 have downloaded the JEE admit cards. In reference to NEET, a total of 6,84,000 candidates out of 1.59 million have downloaded the admit cards," he said.
The education minister also said that there was no certainty about when the pandemic would be over. Hence, he said that the solution was to move on with precautions.
Considering the higher education system, he said that one could not tinker with the selection process through these examinations.
His comments amidst a growing clamour to postpone JEE/NEET due to the coronavirus pandemic. Seven state chief ministers - including West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren - are looking to move the Supreme Court seeking a relief.
On August 17, the Supreme Court dismissed pleas to direct NTA to postpone JEE Main and NEET due to the coronavirus pandemic.
SC said the postponement of the exams would put students' careers in peril. Justice Arun Mishra said that, if exams were not held, students would lose an academic year. He also added that life should go on during COVID-19 and questioned how exams could be stopped.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) had clarified on August 25 that the JEE Main 2020 and NEET 2020 examinations will be held as per schedule. The testing body said the number of examination centres for JEE Main and NEET 2020 has been increased to 660 and 3,843 from 570 and 2,546, respectively.
NTA said that 8,58,000 candidates had registered for JEE Main 2020 and 1.59 million for NEET (UG) 2020.An odd-even system of seating for maintaining social distancing inside the examination centres will be followed.