New Delhi: Over 17 lakh candidates have already downloaded their admit cards for JEE and NEET, and this shows that the students want the exams to be conducted at any cost, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' said on Thursday.
The minister's comments come against the backdrop of a growing chorus for postponement of the medical and engineering entrance exams in view of spike in COVID-19 cases.
"National Testing Agency (NTA) officials told me that over 7 lakh candidates have downloaded JEE-Main admit cards while over 10 lakh aspirants have downloaded NEET admit cards. This shows that students want the exams be held at any cost," Pokhriyal said.
"We have received mails from students and parents who are in favour of holding exams as they have been preparing for the exams from at least two three years," he added.
While the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is scheduled to be held on September 13, engineering entrance exam JEE-Main has been planned from September 1-6. Around 8.58 lakh candidates have registered for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)Main and 15.97 lakh students have registered for NEET.
These exams have already been deferred twice in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The JEE-Mains was originally scheduled to be held from April 7-11, but postponed to July 18-23, NEET-UG was originally scheduled for May 3, then pushed to July 26. They were postponed again and are now scheduled in September.
Over 100 academicians write to PM Modi backing exams
In what can definitely be termed as a shot in the arm for the government facing Opposition flak, a long list of academicians including professors from Delhi University, JNU, Central University of Kerala, California University among others have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi supporting the conduct of JEE and NEET exams in the hope that students will not lose a year.
The initiative is coordinated by a group of concerned academicians.
"We the members of academic fraternity fully support the government decision to conduct JEE and NEET exams," they wrote.
Hitting out at the naysayers, they wrote: "The dreams and future of our youth and students cannot be compromised at any cost. However, some are trying to play with the future of our students simply to propel their own political agenda and oppose the government.
"We hope and strongly believe that under your able leadership, the central government will successfully conduct the JEE and NEET exams taking full precautions to ensure that the future of students is taken care of and the academic calendar for 2020-21 is rolled out."
They say that they "wholeheartedly welcome" the government's move, while citing the Supreme Court dismissing a petition for postponement of these exams saying that any further delay in conducting the tests would result in the waste of a precious year for students.
They wrote that "Youth and students are the future of the nation but in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, clouds of uncertainty have gathered over their careers too".
There are a lot of apprehensions about admissions and classes which, they say, need to be resolved at the earliest.
Prof. C B Sharma of IGNOU, Prof Prakash Singh of the Delhi University, Prof Sanjeev Sharma, the VC of MGCUB in Bihar's Motihari, Prof. Jayaprasad, the Pro-VC of Central University of Kerala, Prof. Ainul Hasan of the JNU are among some of the academicians who wrote the letter to PM Modi.