This Article is From Aug 25, 2020

Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin, Others Call For Entrance Tests To Be Put Off

Opposition leaders Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin and Aditya Thackeray have written to the central government seeking deferral of the JEE, NEET exams - due in September - till the coronavirus spike is brought under control.

Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin, Others Call For Entrance Tests To Be Put Off

JEE, NEET: Leaders across parties have called for deferring the exams in view of Covid (Representational)

New Delhi:

Key opposition leaders from across the country, including Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin and Aditya Thakeray today joined the growing chorus against holding the NEET medical entrance exam and JEE for admission to the IITs in September. All three leaders wrote to the central government today, urging that the exams are deferred.

"It is our duty to ensure a safe environment for all our students," West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee tweeted this morning. Later in the day, she wrote to the Prime Minister stating that she had opposed the holding of the exams when first proposed by the Union Grant Commission (UGC) and that she still felt they should be deferred.

Aditya Thackeray, a young Maharashtra Minister, also tweeted a copy of his letter to PM Modi wherein he has appealed that cancelling the JEE and NEET exams would prevent "a spike in infections".

In a letter to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, DMK President Stalin said JEE and NEET exams should be put off, not just because of the pandemic but also the recent floods that have ravaged parts of the country.

"Students and parents are under enormous mental stress. Considering the current restrictions on public transportation, the allotted exam centres are not uniformly accessible to all aspirants," he said.

A day earlier, former Union Education Minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal had also made similar arguments in a staccato tweet.

Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia, who has received praise and awards for his efforts to uplift the national capital's education sector, had also said "there can be a thousand safer alternatives".

On August 21, the Education Ministry had said it would not postpone the JEE and NEET exams, both of which are scheduled to be held in the first half of September.

The exams were first cancelled in May when the nationwide lockdown was in force and the total coronavirus cases were fewer.  

Students have argued that holding the exams amid rising COVID-19 cases is irresponsible and unfair on the less privileged, but the centre has remained undeterred in its stand.  

Petitions on the subject were also dismissed by the Supreme Court which said "life cannot be stopped" and, separately, directed the Central government to accommodate aspirants on Vande Bharat flights so they can write the NEET in India.