The deferment of Class XII exams by the CBSE and state boards may have a cascading effect on the schedule of the Joint Entrance Exam (Main) and JEE (Advanced) and National Eligibility-Entrance Test (UG). Though no official announcement has been made yet, the exams may also get postponed in view of the surge in covid-19 cases.
The two-tier JEE and NEET (UG) are high-stake entrance exams for getting admission in engineering and medical colleges. While JEE Main’s third session was to take place in the last week of April and fourth session was scheduled to take place in May, the JEE Advanced is scheduled for July and NEET (UG) on 1 August.
“JEE Main entrance scheduled for April-end is most likely to get deferred. Authorities are reviewing the situation and a final call on this is likely within the next few days,” said a government official, requesting anonymity. Since the CBSE Class XII exam is unlikely to happen before the second week of June, JEE Advanced exam and NEET (UG) may also get delayed, the official added.
“How much and to what extent is yet to be worked out, but its impact will be there. The government thinks students should not be put under stress when the country is in the grip of a second wave,” the official said, adding that the postponement of board and NEET (PG) exams is a clear signal of that.
The exponential rise in covid-19 cases prompted both the central and state governments to postpone exams ahead of the peak school and higher education entrance exam season.
The Centre has cancelled the Class X board exams and deferred the Class XII exams. At least nine other state boards, including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, have either postponed or cancelled the board exams. International Baccalaureate Board, too, has cancelled Class XII exams for its affiliated schools.
The Union health ministry on Thursday postponed the NEET (PG) exams for admission to masters’ programmes in most private and government medical colleges, three days ahead of the scheduled date. “In light of the surge in #COVID19 cases, GoI has decided to postpone NEETPG2021 exam, which was earlier scheduled to be held on Apr 18. Next date to be decided later,” heath minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted.
“No formal decision has yet been taken with regard to the JEE Advanced exam, but concerned officials are in touch with the education ministry and National Testing Agency (NTA),” said a senior IIT professor, seeking anonymity.
The JEE Advanced convener did not respond to calls or a text message on his mobile phone. The NTA director general did not respond to calls or a text message on his mobile phone either. A spokesperson of the education ministry said that the NTA is reviewing the situation and no official decision has been taken yet.