Amid growing demand to cancel the NEET medical entrance exam and the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admission into the IITs, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday urged centre to rethink the decision to hold the exams and “make alternate arrangement”. As India’s coronavirus cases passed 30 lakh, Mr Sisodia tweeted that “centre is playing with students’ lives”.
In a series of tweets last night, the 48-year-old Delhi minister, who has received praise and awards in the past for his efforts to uplift the national capital’s education sector, said “there can be a thousand safer alternatives”.
“In the 21st century, we can’t find an alternative to an entrance exam. This is not possible. The government’s intent should be to think about the welfare of students… There can be a thousand safer alternatives to NEET-JEE,” Mr Sisodia wrote in Hindi.
In another post, he said: “The thought process that NEET-JEE is the only alternative is an impractical thought. Worldwide, education systems are adopting new methods… why can’t we do it in India? It’s not wise to put students’ lives at stake for an entrance test.”
“Centre is playing with the lives of lakhs of students in the name of NEET-JEE entrance. I appeal to the centre that the entrance exams should be scrapped across the country and make an alternate arrangement. At the time of unprecedented crisis, only an unprecedented move will be able to find a solution,” he added.
The two exams are scheduled to be conducted in September.
Admit cards for the JEE (Main) exam have already been issued by the National Testing Agency (NTA) and around 6.5 lakh students (of the nearly 8.6 lakh who had registered) have downloaded them, according to sources.
On Monday, the Supreme Court the entrance exams will be held as per schedule. “The careers of students cannot be put under jeopardy,” the top court said as it dismissed a petition by 11 students to defer the exams.
“Life cannot be stopped. We have to move ahead with all safeguards and all… Are students ready to waste one whole year? Education should be opened up. Covid may continue for a year more. Are you going to wait another year? Do you know what the loss to the country and peril to the students is?,” Justice Arun Mishra, who headed a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court said.