JEE Main 2020: 26% candidates skip September session; 6.3 lakh of 8.5 lakh students appeared for test
According to ministry data, last week 74 percent of the candidates appeared for the exams last week amid strict protocol in view of COVID-19. The attendance recorded witnessed a dip from January 2020 when at least 94.32 percent students appeared for the exams.
More than quarter of students who registered for the JEE Main last week failed to appear to write their examinations. According to data available with the Ministry of Education, out of 8.58 lakh applicants, only 6.35 lakh appeared for the engineering test which was held from 1 to 6 September.
The exam was conducted after being deferred twice in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Joint Entrance Exam (JEE)-Main, exams held for admission to engineering colleges across the country, is conducted twice a year. According to ministry data, last week 74 percent of the candidates appeared for the exams last week amid strict protocol in view of COVID-19. The attendance recorded witnessed a dip from January 2020 when at least 94.32 percent students appeared for the exams.
"JEE-Main is held twice a year. The previous one was held in January this year. Several students who did not appear for the exam in September may have done well in the January exam and hence did not feel the need to sit for the exam this time. We are ascertaining those numbers," said Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal in a tweet.
Last year, the attendance for the January and April sessions of the exam was 94.11 percent and 94.15 percent, respectively.
The crucial exam has been mired in controversy after a section of students and opposition parties demanded that the exams be postponed in view of rising coronavirus cases. The entrance test had already been postponed twice before.
"Any further delay of the exams would not have been in the interest of our hardworking students and their plans for college admissions. Our government has always been unwavering regarding student welfare & student safety. We will always work for the interests of our youth," Pokhriyal said.
As per data shared by the National Testing Agency (NTA) last week, the attendance for the exams was low on the first day — 54.67 percent — but later picked up on the second and third days to 81.08 and 82.14 percent, respectively.
Pokhriyal had released the attendance data late Wednesday night to counter allegations made by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Twitter.
BJP vs BJP on JEE-NEET
Swamy, who earlier demanded postponement of the exam, alleged on Wednesday that only 8 lakh, of the 18 lakh registered candidates, had appeared for JEE (Main) and called it “a disgrace for the nation”.
Dr. @Swamy39 Ji, I would like to place some facts on the record regarding #JEE(Main) exams.
The number of applicants for #JEEMains stands at 8.58 lakhs, not 18 lakhs as you tweeted. https://t.co/e9hQLRFIs4
— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) September 9, 2020
Swamy also raised concerns regarding the attendance which was lower than the figures cited by the Ministry of Education.
See what NTA has posted on their website in August
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) September 10, 2020
Swamy then went on to post a picture of a sheet, claiming that the government had tabled it in the Supreme Court. The sheet pegs the figure of applicants at over 9.5 lakh. “With my compliments, Minister!” Swamy tweeted.
With my compliments, Minister! pic.twitter.com/HYMnZ2GOqh
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) September 10, 2020
Despite student protests, the Centre went ahead with the examination, arguing that careers cannot be put on hold indefinitely. The Supreme Court had earlier dismissed a plea seeking postponement of the two exams amid a spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases, saying a "precious year" of students cannot be wasted and life has to go on.
Students across the country were demanding that the exam be postponed, with the Opposition parties uniting and supporting them.
Several opposition leaders including Congress' Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik, DMK President MK Stalin and Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia have also demanded that the exams be postponed.
Based on the results of the JEE-Mains Paper 1 and Paper 2, the top 2.45 lakh candidates will be eligible to appear for the JEE-Advanced exam, which is a one-stop exam to get admission into the 23 premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). JEE-Advanced is scheduled to take place on 27 September.
JEE Main 2020, the entrance exam for admission into engineering institutes, was held online from 1 to 6 September while NEET 2020, held for admission to undergraduate medical courses, is slated to be held offline on 13 September.
With inputs from PTI
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The National Testing Agency organises the JEE Main exam every year for admissions to the engineering courses offered by participating institutions like the NITs, IIITs and GFTIs
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