In the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister of Tourism and Environment, Aaditya Thackeray on Monday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assess the risk and postpone the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) until the situation becomes conducive to hold the exams.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) has announced that the JEE (Main) will be held from September 1 to 6 and NEET (UG) on September 13.
Aaditya shared the letter on Twitter and wrote, “I have written to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri @narendramodi ji on the health risk that the proposed exams of various streams, and entrance exams, would have for students and families across India and for his personal intervention.”
The letter read as follows:
To Shri Narendra Modi ji Hon'ble Prime Minister, India
Respected sir, Under your leadership, we are fighting the battle against Covid nationally. India has put up a strong fight and citizens are doing their best to fight Covid as well
Sir, I most humbly wish to draw your attention to the plight of the students. While most of our country is still working from home due to increasing Covid numbers, the various institutions and universities for professional and non professional courses have been trying to schedule examinations. This isn't a practical and feasible option sir, as most states are facing increasing numbers of Covid, along with red zones still in place and transport yet to resume.
More so sir, wherever in the world schools and colleges have re-opened. large number of Covid cases have been found. In our country, most students live with their parents and grandparents and the infection. if at all, can be fatal. The system for even a single paper would include not just students, but teachers, non teaching staff and much more of the state apparatus, most of whom are in the high risk group.
Sir, I humbly request you to intervene and postpone all academic activity to do with physical or online examinations across the country, for all professional courses, including entrance exams. For the non professional courses, most of their academic assessment has been carried out and the final examination wouldn't amount to more than 10% of assessment, hence they may be passed on a marking system devised by the universities.
We may also think of starting our academic year from January 2021 instead of June/ July 2020 so that no student loses the academic year
Sir I'm sure that with this intervention, we would be able to prevent a larger spike in infection and contribute to our fight in keeping our citizens safe.
Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also stressed that it is the duty of the government to ensure a safe environment for all our students.
"Now with the directive of @EduMinOfIndia to conduct NEET, JEE 2020 in Sep, I would again appeal to the Centre to assess the risk and postpone these examinations until the situation is conducive again. It is our duty to ensure a safe environment for all our students," the TMC supremo tweeted.
She further mentioned that in her last video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she had raised her voice against the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines mandating completion of terminal examinations in universities and colleges by the end of September 2020.
"In our last video conference with PM Shri @narendramodi Ji, I had been vocal against the UGC guidelines mandating completion of terminal examinations in Universities/Colleges by the end of September 2020, which had a huge potential to put student lives at risk," she said.
On Sunday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had also urged the government to take into account concerns of JEE and NEET students who have been demanding postponement of the entrance examinations.
"Today lakhs of students are saying something. The GOI must listen to the Students Ke Mann Ki Baat about NEET, JEE exams and arrive at an acceptable solution," the Congress leader had said in a tweet.
The response of the leaders comes amid the demands from students and parents to postpone the entrance exams in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases.