NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to defer the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and JEE (Main) Exams.“Life cannot be stopped. We have to move ahead with all safeguards,” said a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.The observation came on a batch of pleas by students seeking the exam dates be postponed till normalcy returns.
“Are you (students) ready to waste one whole year? Covid may continue for a year more. Do you know what the loss to the country and peril to the students is?” the bench asked.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the National Testing Agency, which conducts NEET and JEE (Main), informed the court all safeguards would be taken for conducting the exams. JEE is scheduled from September 1 to 6, while the NEET is slated for Sept13.
Meanwhile, senior officials in the Union education ministry said the examinations will be conducted as per the plan as “there is no alternative way of evaluating the merit of students for the high-stake examinations”.Students wanted these admission tests be cancelled saying such gatherings would put them at risk of catching the virus.
“We are going ahead with the examination as per the schedule announced earlier and there is no question of rethinking,” said Vineet Joshi, director, National Testing Agency.He added all necessary precautions will be taken to ensure students’ safety.
“JEE (Main) is already staggered over a week and the number of centres for NEET has been increased to avoid crowding of students and ensure social distancing norms are followed,” he said.
Another official in the ministry noted these tests define the careers and lives of lakhs of students and their competence will decide if they can pursue these highly sought-after technical courses. This year the CBSE cancelled some class XII papers, which could not be held due to nationwide lockdown, and rated students on the basis of their performance in previous papers. Following this, IITs and NITs have decided not to count their performance in the boards.
“In such a scenario-holding of the admission tests is even more crucial,” the official said.Earlier, along with the performance in JEE (Main), both IITs and NITs used to demand either 75% mark in the board examinations or a place in the top 20 percentile of their respective boards.