Students’ future and safety our prime concern: Education Minister


New Delhi : The safety and future of the students was the topmost priority with regard to the conduction of the Joint Entrance Exams (JEE) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Thursday adding that several steps, including the increase in the number of exam centres, had been taken.

“The students are everyone’s children. There is no ‘government’s side’ or opposition in this matter. The future, career and safety of the students are our topmost priority. After several requests from parents and students from across the country, it has been decided that the exams will take place as scheduled,” Pokhriyal told ANI.

He further said, “We had already postponed the exams twice before and I am glad to receive many positive responses from parents and students on the Education Ministry’s social media platforms, saying, how long can a student prepare for the examinations? Many students have said that they do not want to waste a whole year, and the exams must be conducted.”

“After hearing both sides of the argument, the Supreme Court (SC) rejected the writ petition saying that the NEET-UG, as well as JEE examination, must be conducted. There is no justification for the request for the postponement of the exams. The SC rightly said that life must go on and the students’ careers cannot be put in jeopardy,” Union Education Minister further added.

Pokhriyal further told ANI that the Director-General (DG) of the National Testing Agency (NTA) told him that the 7.5 lakh out of 8.58 lakhs candidates for JEE have downloaded admit cards, and for NEET, over 10 lakhs out of 15.97 lakhs candidates downloaded admit cards in 24 hrs indicating that students wanted exams to be held at any cost.

He further said that the centres for the two national level exams had been increased.

“JEE exam centres have been increased to 660 from 570 while there are now 3,842 NEET centres, up from 2,546 for the convenience of students. And 99 per cent of the students have been allotted exam centres of their choice,” he said.

“Our Education Secretary is in constant communication with the Chief Secretary, Education and Health Secretaries of all the states. There is a lot of vigilance and I want to assure the students that arrangements have been made by the NTA. It has 72 guidelines that will ensure the safe conduction of the two exams and I am confident that students will not waste a year. (ANI)