No change in NEET, JEE schedule: Despite postponement chorus, NTA stays firm, announces new safety measures

Despite growing protests by students demanding the cancellation or postponement of NEET and JEE exams this year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Testing Agency has maintained that the examinations will be held on the previously scheduled dates.

The Joint Entrance Examination (Main) and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-UG) will be conducted in September as scheduled, officials said on Tuesday, amid a growing chorus for postponing the crucial tests in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a bid to address the concern of students and parents, the NTA announced a slew of measures the body will be taking to ensure social distancing is maintained and the exams are conducted with full precautions.

While the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) is scheduled from September 1-6, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-UG) is planned on September 13.

Aspirants appear in the JEE for admission into the premier engineering colleges and the NEET for undergraduate medical courses.

Increasing the number of examination centres, alternate seating plan, fewer candidates per room and staggered entry and exit are among the steps the National Testing Agency will take for safely conducting medical and engineering entrance exams — NEET and JEE in September.

These steps have been introduced to ensure adherence to social distancing norms at the centres in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, even as chorus grew for postponing of the crucial exams.

In order to ensure proper social distancing inside the examination halls, the candidates will be seated in alternate seats in case of JEE-Mains. In the case of NEET, the number of candidates per room has been reduced from 24 to 12,” the NTA said.

The number of examination centres have also been increased from 570 to 660 (for JEE Main) and 2,546 to 3843 (for NEET). While JEE-Mains is a computer-based test, NEET is a pen-paper test,” the NTA said in a statement.

“Additionally, in case of JEE-Mains, the number of shifts has been increased from the earlier 8 to 12, and the number of candidates per shift has been reduced from earlier 1.32 lakh to 85,000 now,” it said.

For ensuring social distancing outside the examination hall, the entry and exit of candidates has been staggered, it added.

“Adequate arrangements have also been made outside the examination centres to enable candidates to stand with adequate social distancing while waiting. Candidates have also been issued advisory guiding them about ‘Dos and Don’ts’ for proper social distancing,” it added.

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