Exams for JEE and NEET, usually conducted in April for admission to the premier engineering and medical schools in India, have been postponed for about four months now. A particular section of students is demanding the exams be held to avoid any further delay to kickstart the new academic year.
Neev Sikka is preparing for IIT-JEE Mains. Speaking to CNN-New18, he said, “We have been preparing for months now. The situation is getting frustrating. If the exam is delayed anymore, we’ll find ourselves appearing with the next batch. That will result in us losing a year of education to the pandemic.”
The delay is set to result in increased competition and higher cut-offs. The students have been told by faculty that this year, the percentile that may have landed them in a particular college may not be enough. Due to this, a number of students have complained of stress and anxiety.
Akhilesh Khurana, father to a JEE aspirant, said, “Our kids are stressed out and often suffer from sleepless nights and anxiety. As a 17-18 year-old, you are not capable of handling so much pressure. When you have been giving 100% of your time and energy for almost three years now, you expect some results. It is getting difficult for them to concentrate. All they want now is to get done with the exams.”
Looking at the increased unrest among the students and the fact that several private institutes like Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology and Vellore Institute of Technology have started the admission process, the IITs' plan to conduct the exam in September.
V Ramagopal Rao, director of IIT-Delhi, which is responsible for organising the JEE Advanced this year, said they are prepared to hold the exam with social-distancing and other prevention norms being followed. The number of examination centres has been increased from 80 to 180 and the criteria of scoring a minimum of 75% in Board exams has been scrapped.
Securing admission to IITs is a lengthy procedure. After the exams that are held in two levels, there is a long counselling session. Colleges are already running behind schedule. If the exam is conducted in September, there’s no chance the classes will start before November. Private colleges have already started online classes.
Aashish, older brother to Neev Sikka, said, “We did mull over him joining a private college but the tuition fees of private colleges is high. We have asked him to wait and are hoping the exam will be conducted as soon as possible.”
The lockdown in most parts of the country is being eased now. With the release of Unlock 3.0 guidelines, gyms and markets are open. The Covid-19 curve is still rising and it appears that the pandemic is here to stay. Keeping the current scenario in mind, the universities have offered sanitised transport and classrooms among other precautions once the admission procedure is completed.