In a decision that directly affects lives of millions of students across the country, the central government and the Supreme Court of India are planning to hold the JEE-NEET exams this year.
The decision was communicated by the National Testing Agency, which cited the Supreme Court's order quashing the plea that demanded postponement of the exams.
As per the current schedule, NEET will be held on September 13, while JEE exams will be conducted from September 1 to 6.
And the move has drawn a lot of flak, not just from students, but also politicians and popular figures from around the globe.
Their main concern being the risk this poses to the lives of students, who will have to gather in large numbers during the ongoing pandemic.
In the pandemic situation gov. Is requesting people not to gather.But if we conduct NEET & JEE exams now,we are risking the lives of lakhs of students & there families. Me & maharashtra gov Is with all students.@PMOIndia @DrRPNishank @CMOMaharashtra#ProtestAgainstExamsInCOVID— Dattatray Bharane (@bharanemamaNCP) August 21, 2020
Most recently, environment activist Greta Thunberg tweeted on the issue, saying that it is 'unfair' how students are being put in a tricky situation like this.
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— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) August 25, 2020
Soon, actor Sonu Sood made the appeal to the government regarding the same.
It's my request to government of India, to postpone the #Neet/#JEE exams in the current situation of the country! In the given #COVID19 situation, we should care utmost & not risk the lives of students! #PostponeJEE_NEETinCOVID@EduMinOfIndia @PMOIndia— sonu sood (@SonuSood) August 25, 2020
They were joined in the cause by mathematician and Super 30 founder Anand Kumar. He raised legitimate questions like 'how will students write an exam wearing masks that don't allow them to breathe properly?'.
You can watch his interview with NDTV, here:
Politicians from various parties have also been raising their voices against the decision that puts lives at stake.
JEE-NEET की परीक्षा के नाम पर लाखों छात्रों की ज़िंदगी से खेल रही है केंद्र सरकार. मेरी केंद्र से विनती है कि पूरे देश में ये दोनो परीक्षाएँ तुरंत रद्द करें और इस साल एडमिशन की वैकल्पिक व्यवस्था करे.— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) August 22, 2020
अभूतपूर्व संकट के इस समय में अभूतपूर्व कदम से ही समाधान निकलेगा. @DrRPNishank
In fact, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik even wrote to the Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. In his letter, he noted, "It would be unsafe for students to visit test centers physically amid Covid-19 for JEE (Main) & NEET tests. Therefore, it is requested that exams scheduled to be held in September may be postponed to a later date".
Meanwhile, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee wrote a letter directly to the PM, asking the central government to do something about the issue, citing 'mental agony' of the students as one of the main issues.
With the controversy around the exams picking up momentum, students across the country have decided to hold a protest from homes, by raising black flags and wearing black bands at 8 AM tomorrow.
An online protest against the decision was also held a few days ago by 3000 students.
#Alert - Over 3000 students protest online against exams during COVID times demanding postponement or cancellation of examinations. This comes after the decision to conduct NEET and the JEE exams in the first week of September. @_pallavighosh and @Runjhunsharmas with details pic.twitter.com/IeySNe0r8v— CNNNews18 (@CNNnews18) August 23, 2020