In spite of protests the Centre has decided to go ahead with the upcoming National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). While the Supreme Court had earlier said that life must go on in spite of the pandemic, the National Testing Agency reaffirmed the dates for the exam on Friday.
But students don't seem to have given up yet. Over the last couple of days there have been several million tweets that used hashtags pertaining to the cancellation or postponement of the exams. Many political leaders have also lent their voice to the criticism over the decision.
"The central government is playing with the lives of millions of students in the name of JEE-NEET exam. My request to the Center is to immediately cancel both these exams in the whole country and make alternate arrangements for admission this year. In this time of unprecedented crisis, an unprecedented step will lead to a solution," tweeted Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia.
In a follow-up post he added that the thinking that NEET and JEE were the only options when it came to admissions was "narrow and impractical".
"Educational institutions around the world are adopting new methods of admission. Why can't we do it in India? How does it make sense to state the lives of children in the name of entrance examination?" he asked.
Congress leader Salman Nizami seems to be in agreement. Stating that the government had no right to "endanger" the lives of students by forcing the exams, he said that this was a test that required massive preparation.
"JEE - NEET is not a fake degree of 'entire political science'. It's the toughest exam to select brightest pupil. Students deserve an enabling environment to prepare, focus and give best. Can't happen during a pandemic!" he tweeted.
Students for their part have continued protests. While the NSUI took this a step further with a "candle march for a 19-year-old girl who committed suicide due to the fear of NEET exams," others have continued their tweetstorm.
NSUI office bearer Ayush Sharma said that the group was also trying to get letters from MPs to encourage postponement.
"We are trying to get letter from maximum MPs for postponement of the exams. Kindly don't politicize this matter as some members want only one person as hero and all blame on coaching mafias not on govt. Stay united student power," he tweeted on Friday night.
Many have urged students to continue studying even as they protest, and one unusual method seems to be posting photos of notes and study material and then using the relevant hashtags to record their dissent.
"#INDIAunitedtoPostponeJEE_NEET i m going to study photosynthesis from my coaching notes now will do it in 30 mins (sic)," read one tweet.
"My goal for next 2 hour : 1) Living world 2) biological classification 3) plant kingdom Will let you know once it's completed #INDIAunitedtoPostponeJEE_NEET @PMOIndia @DrRPNishank @Swamy39 @nitin_gadkari Let's study while tweeting , share your goals and short notes too (sic)," read another post.