The Case of CBSE
On May 18, 2020, CBSE announced that it will conduct pending exams for class X students of North East Delhi whose exams were postponed due to violent clashes in the area. It also announced that it will be conducting exams for class XII on 29 subjects which are important to gain admission in the higher educational institutions. The CBSE exams were scheduled between July 1, 2020 to July 15, 2020.
Later, owing to the spike in COVID cases, many State Governments expressed their concern about conducting the CBSE exams. So on June 25, 2020, the Centre announced the cancellation of CBSE exams for class X and class XII. It further provided an option for the students as follows:
- They can attempt the exams only if they want to.
NOTE: The centre will decide the schedule for these exams when the circumstances turn favourable.
- For those students who do not want to take up the exams, the performance of the last two exams will be taken into consideration for awarding marks.
Plight of Entrance Exams
An air of uncertainty surrounds the conduct of major entrance exams. Currently, JEE Main 2020 is scheduled to be conducted between July 18 and July 23 while JEE Advanced is scheduled for August 23. Also, the NEET 2020 examination is scheduled to be conducted on July26. Since CBSE exams have been postponed, it has caused doubts on whether the entrance exams will also be postponed. There has been no official clarification yet. This has caused a stir amongst the student community.
Through various social media channels, students have been requesting the government to declare its stand on going ahead with its July schedule for entrance exams. On June 27, 2020 there were hastags like #PostponeNeetJEE on social media with students demanding clarification on the exams.
Reaction of Students via Social Media
There were many tweets stating the importance of health over exams. The majority of them wanted entrance exams to be postponed. They also declared that MHRD is confusing the students by not being clear on its stance regarding the entrance exams. Many of them tweeted that they have been asking for clarification on MHRD’s stand on the same for over a month with no reply.
IIT’s Stand on Entrance Exams
IITs have expressed concern over the cancellation of entrance exams. They have suggested that exams could be postponed but not cancelled because entry into IITs through any other means (other than entrance exams) will reduce the brand value of the institution.
Current COVID Scenario
Around 5 lakh COVID-19 cases have been recorded on June 27, 2020. The death toll has crossed 15000. With students from across the country appearing for the entrance exams, it will be difficult to follow social distancing rules. Also, there might be registrants who have tested positive for COVID-19. Considering all these factors, it will be difficult to ensure the safety of students appearing for the entrance exam.
Overall, there are mixed feelings among the student community. While some are anxious, others are frustrated. Everyone is waiting for MHRD to make clear announcements regarding the major entrance exams.