Greta Thunberg opposes holding NEET and JEE exams during the COVID-19 pandemic

Greta Thunberg
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The clamour around postponing the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) has been growing. Many leaders in India have urged the Centre to postpone these exams, as demanded by the students, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Famous climate activist Greta Thunberg has also tweeted in support of the students demanding postponement of JEE and NEET. “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 tweeted on Tuesday.

Mamata Banerjee had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday seeking postponement of NEET and JEE examinations that are scheduled to be held in September. Banerjee said she had expressed her views against the UGC guidelines that required completing terminal examinations in universities/colleges across the country by the end of September 2020. “My point was that this decision had a huge potential to put students’ lives at risk,” the chief minister said.

• In his letter to Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, DMK president Stalin said that no decision should be made in haste putting the lives of students at stake. “The government should act keeping the well-being and future of students in mind. In the light of the severe difficulties explained above, I sincerely request you to postpone the JEE, NEET until Covid-19 is brought under control,” Stalin said.

• The Supreme Court had on Monday declined to pass direction to the central government to hold NEET examination in Gulf countries, but asked the government to allow students to come via Vande Bharat Mission flights to give the exams. A bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao said that the quarantine norms are mandatory for students who would come from the Middle East countries to give exam but allowed petitioners to approach state authorities to seek relaxation.

• The top court had on August 17 dismissed a petition seeking postponement of these exams saying precious year of students “cannot be wasted” and life has to go on.

• The Medical Council of India recently told the Supreme Court that postponement of the NEET any further shall be a “drastic deviation” from the academic schedule which may affect the subsequent academic years of the students.

• Over 4,200 students participated in a day-long hunger strike on Monday demanding the cancellation and postponement of exams. Using the #SATYAGRAHagainstExamInCovid, students took to Twitter to urge the government to heed to their demands.

• Around 16 lakh students have registered for NEET this year, while close to 9.3 lakh students had registered for JEE-Mains (Paper I) that was conducted in January. An equal number of students were expected to appear for the second phase of the exam, which are scheduled for April-May each year.

• This year, however, owing to the Covid-19 outbreak, the National Testing Agency (NTA) kept postponing the exam dates.

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