The Centre on Friday decided to postpone the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test and the Joint Entrance Exam (Main) to September, in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The two exams, scheduled to be held in July, are conducted for admission into medical and engineering colleges across the country.

“Keeping in mind the safety of students and to ensure quality education, we have decided to postpone JEE and NEET examinations,” Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” said. “JEE Main examination will be held between September 1 to September 6. NEET examination will be held on September 13. JEE advanced exam will be held on September 27.” Pokhriyal added that the main focus of the government was the safety of the students.

NEET had earlier been scheduled for July 26, while the JEE was to take place from July 18 to July 23.

Parents and students had voiced their concerns about holding the exams in July. Students had over the past month been requesting confirmation on whether the government is going ahead with its July schedule or will be postponing the entrance exams.

On Thursday, Pokhriyal said that a panel had been set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to take a look at the situation and to explore the feasibility of conducting the examinations this month. On Wednesday, around 4,000 students who are non-residential Indians filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding that NEET be postponed, NDTV reported on Friday.

ICSE Board cuts 2020-’21 syllabus by 25%

Meanwhile, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, which conducts the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education examinations for Class 10 and Indian School Certificate exams for Class 12, on Friday decided to cut the syllabus for the 2020-’21 academic year by 25%. “While a number of CISCE affiliated schools have tried to adapt to this changed scenario and have tried to keep alive the teaching learning process through online classes, there has been a significant shortening of the academic year and loss of the instructional hours,” the council said in a statement according to NDTV.

The CISCE had on Thursday announced the assessment scheme for pending Class 10 and Class 12 exams, which it had cancelled in a notification on June 25. As per the scheme, students will be assessed on the best of three papers’ marks, total marks obtained in internal assessments, and percentage of marks obtained by the candidate in the internal assessment of the paper.

The coronavirus pandemic has so far affected 6,25,544 people in India, and killed 18,213 people, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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