The first cycle of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE-Main) 2021 will be conducted in the last week of February instead of January and the application process will commence from December, Times of India has reported.

Several other competitive and class 12 board exams are also likely to be deferred by more than a month. Given the pandemic and forthcoming elections in Assam and West Bengal, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) officials are of the opinion that it may not be possible to conduct the board exams on time in 2021, the report says.

Spiking Covid-19 cases is another reason as NTA (National Testing Agency) would need around two months to prepare the centres with safety protocols, the report cited a senior government official as saying.

JEE-Main, which is the national level competitive test for admission to various undergraduate engineering and architecture courses, including the eligibility test for the JEE (Advanced) for admission to Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) is conducted twice a year – January and April.

This year, JEE Main exams were held from September 1 to 6 and JEE Advanced on September 27. This happened with strict precautions in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The update on JEE Mains comes after a senior Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) official indicated that Class 10 and Class 12 board exams for the academic year 2021-22 will be held and a schedule will be announced “very soon”.