Centre must listen to all, find solution for worried aspirants of NEET, JEE Main 2020, says Rahul Gandhi
The Congress leader said that while students are afraid of contracting COVID-19 infection, there are also concerns related to 'transport and lodging during the pandemic' and the 'flood mayhen' in Assam and Bihar
Even as opposition parties met to decide a future course of action against the NTA's decision to conduct the medical (NEET) and engineering (JEE) entrance exams in September, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi once again urged the Narendra Modi government to listen to all stakeholders and find an acceptable solution to the problem.
Stating that students are "worried about their health and future", the Congress leader listed out three concerns of the students in a tweet.
NEET-JEE aspirants are worried about their health & future.
They have genuine concerns of:
- fear of Covid19 infection
- transport & lodging during pandemic
- flood-mayhem in Assam & Bihar.
GOI must listen to all stakeholders & find an acceptable solution.#AntiStudentModiGovt
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 26, 2020
While a total of 9.53 lakh candidates have registered for JEE-Mains, 15.97 lakh students have registered for NEET.
He said that while students are afraid of contracting COVID-19 infection, there are also concerns related to "transport and lodging during the pandemic".
The Congress leader also highlighted the "flood-mayhem in Assam and Bihar" as another reason to postpone the exam.
"GOI must listen to all stakeholders and find an acceptable solution," he added.
The chorus against the NTA's decision to hold the exams has grown louder from across the country with both students and politicians voicing their opposition. According to News18, students across the country are planning a protest agains the NTA from their homes tomorrow, demanding postponement or cancellation of exams.
According to the report, "Students across India are set to 'raise black flags from homes, tie black bands on arm or forehead, wear black mask, turn their profile pictures BLACK' from 8 am to protest against the decision".
On Wednesday, several opposition leaders too have asked the Centre to do a rethink on the exams as cases continue to surge.
At the meeting of the Opposition leaders, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh urged the Centre to appeal against the Supreme Court order for holding the JEE and NEET exams to ensure the aspirants are free from "mental agony".
The Supreme Court too had last week dismissed a plea seeking postponement of the two exams amid a spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases, saying a "precious" academic year of students "cannot be wasted" and life has to go on.
Odisha chief minsirer Naveen Patnaik and DMK President MK Stalin have too demanded that the exams be postponed.
Earlier on Wednesday, Tamil Nadu's school education minister KA Sengottaiyan said that the Tamil Nadu government to has requested the Centre to scrap NEET or at least exempt students from the state from attending that exam if they were held.
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia too reiterated his demand on Wednesday that the two entrance exams be postponed and the Central government work on alternative methods for selecting students.
"They (Centre) are saying protocols will be followed. Following the same protocols that the Centre wants 28 lakh students to follow, lakhs of Indians have tested positive," Sisodia told reporters.
Increasing the number of examination centres, alternate seating plan, fewer candidates per room and staggered entry and exit are among the steps the National Testing Agency will take for safely conducting NEET and JEE in September.
Sisodia also pointed out how several leaders including Union Home Minister Amit Shah tested positive for coronavirus despite staying in a very safe environment.
"So many top leaders have got infected with COVID-19 despite taking all precautions. So, how can we take the risk of sending 28 lakh students to exam centre and be assured that they will not be infected," Sisodia asked.
He said the Central Government should immediately postpone the exams and work on "alternative methods" of admission.
Meanwhile, members of the Congress-affiliated NSUI on Wednesday began an indefinite hunger strike demanding the postponement of the NEET-JEE and fee waiver for six months for students during the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Swedish teen climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg also threw her weight behind postponing the exams in view of the pandemic.
"It's deeply unfair that students of India are asked to sit national exams during the Covid-19 pandemic and while millions have also been impacted by the extreme floods. I stand with their call to #PostponeJEE_NEETinCOVID," she said in a tweet.
However, not all have been in support of postponing the exam.
IIT Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao said on Wednesday that any further delay in conducting entrance exams JEE and NEET will have "serious repercussions" on not only the academic calendar but also career of bright students.
"The consequences of postponing these exams any further can have serious repercussions on IIT academic calendars and for candidates. I fail to see how we can run two batches together. It will become a zero academic year for lakhs of students. Our academic calendars are too packed already and linked to too many other things. The delays can impact the careers of so many bright students," Rao said.
The JEE (Main) this year is scheduled to be held between 1 and 6 September while the JEE (Advanced) will be held on 27 September.
With inputs from PTI
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