After JEE Main, the National Testing Agency (NTA) is all set to conduct National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) on September 13, for which over 15 lakh candidates have registered.
The Joint Entrance Exam (JEE Main), which began on September 1 for admission to engineering colleges, concluded on August 6. The crucial exams are being conducted in September after being postponed twice in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per NTA officials, 15.97 lakh candidates from across the country have registered for NEET, which is a pen-paper based test unlike JEE, which is conducted online.
Measures taken by NTA
1. To ensure social distancing outside the examination hall, the entry and exit of candidates have been staggered.
“Adequate arrangements have been made outside the examination centres to enable candidates to stand with adequate social distancing while waiting,” a senior NTA official said.
2. Meanwhile, NTA has also increased the number of centres from 2,546 to 3,843 for NEET exam 2020 while the number of candidates per room has been reduced from earlier 24 to 12.
3. Candidates have been issued an advisory which includes the ‘do’s and dont’s’ to keep in mind while giving the NEET exam.
4. NTA has also requested state governments to extend support in local movement of the candidates so that they are able to reach their examination centres on time.
5. Hand sanitisers have been made available at the entrance of the examination centre and inside the exam hall.
6. The process of checking admit cards has been replaced with barcode readers.
“While all the candidates will be asked to go to the exam centres with masks and sanitisers, once they enter the centre, they will have to use the masks provided by the examination authority,” the official said.
“Each candidate will be offered a three-ply mask at the time of entry and are expected to wear the same during the examination in order to avoid any form of unfair means at the time of examination,” the official added.
Governments of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have extended their support and assured students that they will arrange for their travel, while a group of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) alumni and students have also launched a portal to provide transport facilities to exam centres for the candidates in need.
Kolkata Metro Railway is also planning to run special services for NEET candidates on September 13 to help them reach their examination centres.
“As per the plan, candidates along with guardians will be allowed to board the trains on showing their admit cards,” according to Metro Railway general manager Manoj Joshi.
On August 17, the Supreme Court junked the petition seeking deferment of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and gave a green signal for the conduct of examinations scheduled to be held in September 2020.
The top court had refused to interfere with the conduct of the medical and engineering entrance exams, saying that life must go on and students can’t lose a precious year due to the pandemic.
Several opposition leaders, including Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik, DMK president M K Stalin and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had also demanded that the exams be postponed.
Ministers from Rajasthan and Punjab (Congress), West Bengal (Trinamool Congress), Jharkhand (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha), Maharashtra (Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena) filed a review petition in Supreme Court seeking postponement of the exams “in a manner that achieved the twin objectives of ensuring that the academic year of the students is not wasted and their health and safety is not compromised”.
However, the plea was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
The NEET-UG was originally scheduled for May 3, but was pushed to July 26 and then scheduled for September 13.
(With PTI inputs)