Lack of transport facilities to reach examination centres, fear of contracting COVID-19, and writing exams while wearing masks and hand gloves are some of the concerns being raised by NEET and JEE-Mains aspirants who want the exams to be postponed amid the pandemic.
The Left-affiliated All India Students' Association on Thursday held a protest on Twitter using the hashtags #Rise_AgainstExamsInCovid, #JEENEET, #neetjeepostpone, #PostponeJEE_NEETinCOVID and #NEETJEEpostponekaro. Students wore black bands and masks and posted pictures demanding that the exams be postponed amid the pandemic.
An online petition was also started on Wednesday to urge the Centre to postpone the two exams till the year-end amid a spurt in coronavirus cases in the country. Over 1.20 lakh people have signed the petition.
A JEE aspirant, requesting anonymity, said, "There are lakhs of students who will take NEET and JEE exams. My mother has low immunity and if I get tested positive who will take responsibility of me or my family getting affected. It has been seen that SOPs are not followed during entrance exams." Danish Khan, a NEET aspirant from Bhagalpur, said he has been allotted an exam centre in Patna where cases have been on a rise.
"Private transporters have hiked rates and students will end up spending nearly Rs 10,000 to reach their centres. Many of my friends are stuck in floods. Will they swim to the centres? They won't be able to take exams amid this pandemic. It is being said SOPs will be followed but those who have formulated these SOPs have also fallen ill," he said.
A JEE aspirant from Karnataka, requesting anonymity, said that the time for reporting to the centre is 7 am and his centre is almost 150 kilometres away.
"With no bus or train services available, how will we travel? My friends are also facing the same issue as they do not have transport facilities at home," the aspirant said.
Taniya and Srishti Kumari Mishra are sisters. While Taniya is a JEE aspirant, Srishti is preparing for NEET. Srishti had dropped a year for the NEET exams after she failed to make the cut last year by six marks.
"I missed a seat because I secured six marks less last year, but this time the stress is so much that my sister and I have not been able to study for a fortnight. We do not even have a transport facility to reach the exam centre. It is possible that we might have to miss the exams this year," Srishti said.
The JEE Main and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-UG) will be conducted in September as scheduled, officials of the Ministry of Education said on Tuesday, amid a growing chorus for postponing the crucial tests in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the JEE Main is scheduled from September 1-6, NEET is planned on September 13.
Several opposition leaders, including Congress' Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik and DMK president M K Stalin have demanded that the exams be postponed.