Congress president Sonia Gandhi today tweeted a video statement asking the centre to "listen" to students who have raised concerns over holding national entrance exams for engineering and medical courses amid the coronavirus crisis.
The Congress and other opposition parties have considered going to the Supreme Court to defer the exams till the pandemic is under proper control.
"My dear students, I feel for you because you are now facing a very difficult situation. The issue of your exams, of when they should be held and where, is the most important issue not only for you but your family too," Mrs Gandhi said.
"You are our future. We depend on you to build a better India. Therefore, if any decision has to be taken regarding your future, it is important that it is being taken with your concurrence. I hope the government listens to you, listens to your voices and act upon your wishes. This is my advice to the government. Thank you. Jai Hind," Mrs Gandhi said.
Students are our future, we depend on them to build a better India, therefore, if any decision has to be taken regarding their future it is important that it is taken with their concurrence.: Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi #SpeakUpForStudentSafetypic.twitter.com/Jf18cmykbd— Congress (@INCIndia) August 28, 2020
The Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) are schedule next month.
The centre has defended the move to push ahead with holding the all-India exams - despite the risk of COVID-19 - as a result of "constant pressure from parents and students".
In an interview to the government broadcaster DD News last week, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said over 80 per cent students who will appear for JEE has already downloaded admit cards.
"We have been under constant pressure from parents and students, asking why we are not allowing JEE and NEET. The students were very worried. In their minds they were thinking for how long will they continue to study?" the Education Minister told DD News.
To minimise the risk coronavirus infection, students appearing for the JEE and NEET will have to wear masks and hand gloves and carry a personal bottle of water and hand sanitiser to the exam centre.
The National Testing Agency that conducts key entrance exams in the country has said the attempt is "to save one academic year". "...The academic calendar of the current year 2020-21 has also been affected adversely, as in the absence of the entrance examinations, the admissions in the first semester of engineering and medicine undergraduate courses could not happen so far. This has impacted adversely the academic career of the students," the NTA said in a statement.