ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This article has been written by Sagarika Shetty, a Law Student at
Christ University, Banguluru.
Around 8.58 lakh students had registered for JEE (Main) and around 15.97 Lakh candidates had registered for NEET for the year 2020. These are not just a number but represent the dreams of these students who have worked for years in order to secure a seat in a good college. After the National wide lockdown imposed on March 25 due to the epidemic, these exams were postponed twice leaving the students’ lives in jeopardy.
The Supreme Court of India gave a nod and allowed the centre to conduct these national wide exams, since then there has been uproar from the student community and also various concerns were raised by parents, political parties and also some few Universities from all over the nation.
SOME OF THE PROBLEMS WHICH MIGHT ARISE DUE TO THE SCHEDULING OF THE NATIONAL LEVEL EXAMS
The first and foremost concern on scheduling the National wide exams during a pandemic is not only the fear of contracting infection but also being a carrier of the infection. During the recent days before the JEE or NEET was conducted some parts of India were flood-hit such as Gujrat, Bihar and Assam while some parts were rained hit such as districts in Kerala and also some students were residents of Jammu and Kashmir who were facing internet connectivity issues had to face a lot of difficulties before appearing for these entrance exams. Transportation was also a hindrance for students residing in areas wherein the lockdown persisted as the number of public transport facilities were considerably reduced. Various Opposition political parties from parties suggested to the Centre to come up with alternative ways or admitting engineering and medical students.
BENEFITS WHICH WOULD ARISE TO THE STUDENTS IF THESE NATIONAL EXAMS ARE NOT POSTPONED
There is no end to the epidemic which has disturbed the natural life of individuals all over the world. There is no assurance from any international or national healthcare agency as to when educational institutes would open as it had already been 6 months since educational institutes national wide have remained close. Lives of around 24 lakh students depended on the one decision made by the Government. As a democratic country, one must understand that no decision is made by the Government without taking into consideration the pros and cons of the decision. When the decision made by the Centre was challenged before the Supreme Court, the Court held that “Life must go on”, without any definite end to this epidemic it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that this virus does not put the Students life and future career into uncertainty and also to ensure that a full academic year is not wasted. Once exams are conducted and results are declared colleges can immediately resume with their online classes. The most important aspect taken into consideration in by the Government to conduct these exams is the fact that if these National Level exams are postponed it would only hinder the future of various students if the exams are postponed it would lead to an entire batch of medical and engineering seats being vacant which would not be fair as in next year the intake capacity of colleges for the students would remain the same but the number of applicants would just be doubled leaving a number of students dream unfulfilled.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND INITIATIVES TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT
There are various measures taken by the government to ensure student’s while writing the exams are safe and to ensure that admission for current year students into top colleges are made simpler.
Initially, a student had to satisfy two main criteria to secure Admission in IITs, 1) The candidate should have secured an aggregate of 75% in class 12 or equivalent Board exams or 65% for reserved category, 2) The candidate must be within 20% of successful candidate in his or her Class board exams but due to this epidemic but due to this virus the Central Seat Allocation Board (CSAB) revised the said eligibility criteria for the same and hence for the academic year of 2020-2021 a candidate need to only obtain a pass certificate in his 12th standard.
The government ensure that the number of centres was increased to ensure that social distancing was maintained between the candidates. The number of candidates per class was reduced from 24 to 12 to ensure social distancing .99% of candidates appearing in NEET and JEE were given their choice of the centre to ensure that the candidates don’t suffer any hindrance to travel to their prescribed centre.
The government ensure that a sanitizer was present at every entry and exit points in every centre in the country. There was a particular manner prescribed by the government to disperse the crowd without overcrowding. Every centre also had to have a thermal scanner or self-declaration criteria and if any examination functionary did to meet the standards they would be immediately asked to leave Students with body temperature over 99.4 degrees were kept in isolation rooms. No person who violates the prescribed regulations mentioned in the admit card could write the exam.
There are always two sides of the same coin, there are questions as to what would happen if students with pre-ailing conditions would contract the virus while writing their exams but at flip side parents and students must take a sensible call of pursuing these exams next year but some students with pre-existing conditions cannot be a reason to punish lakhs of other aspirants.The most important question arises as to whether the government would take the responsibility of any spread of infection caused due to the examination and bear the medical charges for the same, the answer is in negative and the government contends to the same stating that the government is not the only stakeholder in the current situation but aspirants, their parents and guardians, exam centre personnel, administrative officials of NTA, respective States and the Centre all have an equal role to play and hence the government cannot be held solely responsible for the same. Hence it is completely depending on the priority of the candidate and the parents to decide which side of the coin one would want to stick to.