Karnataka High Court To Decide On Holding Entrance Exams Amid Covid Crisis

State has already conducted SSLC Class 10 exams for almost eight lakh students as well as PUC (pre-university) exams for another two lakh

Karnataka High Court To Decide On Holding Entrance Exams Amid Covid Crisis

NSUI and lawyers have independently approached Karnataka High Court over CET (Representational)

Bengaluru:

The Karnataka High Court is hearing arguments to decide whether the common entrance test for admission to professional courses in the state can be held on July 30 and July 31, amid movement restrictions and concerns over student safety as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Students from the NSUI (National Students' Union of India) and their lawyers had approached the Court asking that the exams not be held at this time, citing the viral pandemic that has infected over 15 lakh people nationwide.

The state, which has already conducted SSLC Class 10 exams for almost eight lakh students as well as PUC (pre-university) exams for another two lakh, is confident that it can successfully conduct these too.

Earlier this week the Court had asked the state to reconsider conducting the CET.

In response Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwath Narayan held an emergency meeting, via video link, with concerned officials and DCs.

"All officials, DCs and police officers have assured full co-operation and are confident of conducting Karnataka CET exams as scheduled. They are fully prepared as per SOP (standard operating procedure) and will take required precautions," he said after the meeting.

"As we have successfully conducted PUC and SSLC exams amid the Covid situation, I am confident we will conduct CET exams, with co-operation of all officials, without any issues," he added.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Minister, who is also the Higher Education Minister, today inspected one of the exam centres - the Maharani Lakshmi Ammanni College in Bengaluru's Malleswaram.

He reviewed seating arrangements meant to ensure social distance between students writing the exams, sanitisation of classrooms and the use of thermal screening facilities at exam halls, as well as security, transport and other basic facilities.

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"We have also made arrangements for COVID positive students to write the exams.  Even students from containment zones can come out with one of their parents or guardians and write the exam," he said.

However, Shashyank, one of the students who approached the court, told NDTV travel restrictions in place at this time will make it difficult for students to appear for the exam.

"I was asked by my friend to approach the court to help other students who are also in this position," Shashyank, who is COVID-19 positive and must travel from Bengaluru to Mysuru for the exam, told NDTV.

Attulaya Singh, a Class 12 student who is also appearing for the CET, told NDTV that while the state and its capital continued to see high rates of infection, it was "not safe" to conduct these exams.

"Karnataka is seeing 5,000 new cases every day. Bengaluru has about 2,000 cases daily. It is not safe. The government's own guidelines say nobody should step out of their house if they live in containment zones. And there are thousands of containment zones in Bengaluru," he told NDTV.

Although Attulaya himself does not live in a containment zone, his neighbourhood has been discouraging residents from stepping outside.

On Tuesday Karnataka reported over 5,500 new COVID-19 cases (and 102 deaths), taking the state's total to 1.07 lakh cases. Bengaluru's urban district alone accounted for 1,898 of the new cases.