Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Thursday ruled out the possibility of postponing NEET 2021 amid concerns raised by students in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. “There is no plan to cancel NEET 2021,” the education minister asserted.

Pokhriyal was addressing a live interaction with students, parents and teachers when he made the remark.

“We postponed NEET thrice in 2020 and gave students an opportunity to change their exam centres.. we could have cancelled the exam but it would have been a great loss for students and the country,” he added.

He also said that the NEET exam would be held amid strict Covid protocols. “We conducted NEET – biggest exam in the world – amid pandemic. If safety guidelines are followed properly, no student will get infected,” he was quoted as saying by NDTV.

Besides NEET, Pokriyal also spoke on the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and said that the ministry is considering if the Main paper can be held for up to four times. On the syllabus, he said: “We are discussing on the syllabus of JEE Main 2021 so that students from all boards can participate”.

The minister also addressed concerns on the CBSE board examinations 2021. Depending on the pandemic situation, the ministry will decide on when the exams will be held, he said.

In response to a student’s request seeking more time for preparation, Pokhriyal said: “We will ensure that you get enough time for preparation”.

After another student asked for a reduction of syllabus by 10-20 per cent, the education minister said that CBSE had already reduced the syllabus by 30 per cent.

Pokriyal reiterated that alternative options will be considered if students are unable to go to schools for the practical exams. “We will discuss in this regard,” he said.