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On JEE-NEET during the pandemic

  • IASbaba
  • August 28, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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EDUCATION / GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Issues relating to development and management of Education 

On JEE-NEET during the pandemic

Context: Conducting Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) amid a pandemic is not easy, but options are limited

About NEET & JEE

  • The NEET is the only gateway for MBBS/BDS admissions in the country. 
  • JEE Main is for students aspiring to pursue undergraduate courses in top engineering institutes in India
  • JEE is not mandatory for State government-run and private institutions.
  • Both JEE & NEET is conducted by National Testing Agency

Dilemmas faced by Union Education Ministry

  • Sustaining a merit-based admission process (through conducting exams)
  • Ensuring physical and emotional well-being of aspirants during COVID-19 times and thus the pressure of postponing exams
  • Limiting the academic disruption caused due to pandemic

Supreme Court on conducting these exams: When petitions were filed to postpone the exams, SC declined to interfere with the conduct of the two common entrance tests.

Arguments in favour of Conducting Exams

  • Support of Judiciary: From an academic perspective, the Supreme Court has observed that the career of students “cannot be put in peril for long”.
  • Support of Parent/Students: A “silent majority” favours the exams as an overwhelming number of registered candidates have downloaded their admit cards.
  • Support by Academics: Directors of several IITs have expressed concern that further delay could lead to a “zero academic year” and any quick alternative to the crucial exams will dilute the quality of education 

Arguments against conducting exams

  • Fear of contracting COVID-19 from examination centres: The NEET will be conducted in 3,843 centres across 155 cities, whereas the number of applicants is about 15.97 lakh. 
  • Practical Challenges: With many States not resuming public transport services and hotels remaining closed, travel and accommodation for candidates from interior regions is a major challenge
  • Disproportionately impact Girls’ prospects of Higher Education: Social and cultural pressures are such that girls from villages and tier-3 towns are likely to face hurdles as travelling alone would not be encouraged under these unusual circumstances.

Way Ahead

  • The government must explore alternatives such as allowing States to conduct medical admissions based on Class XII Board marks using standard normalisation. 
  • NEET could be limited to central institutions.
  • The examination slots could be staggered and the number of centres increased drastically.

Connecting the dots:

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