More than 1.14 lakh students have dropped out from appearing for the Joint Entrance Exam in the first three days, showed education ministry data released on Thursday. The drop-out rate currently stands at 25% with 3,43,958 of the 4,58,521 registered students appearing for the entrance exam.

The JEE Mains exam, which started on September 1, will continue till September 6. The JEE-Advanced exam is scheduled to take place on September 27.

As per education ministry data, the exam centres registered only 54.67% attendance on September 1. The next day, the attendance rose to 81%, on September 3 it was 82%. While day one was for students seeking admission in Bachelor in Architecture and Bachelor in Planning courses, the next two days were for those seeking admission into bachelor of engineering and bachelor of technology courses.

There have been protests against the Centre’s decision to hold exams during the coronavirus pandemic. Six states – Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh – had filed a review petition in the Supreme Court on August 28. The top court is expected to hear the plea on Friday.

The petition highlights the logistical problems of conducting an exam during a pandemic and said that the previous ruling ignored the ‘teething logistical difficulties in conducting the examinations at the proposed dates”. It said that the previous order addresses the importance of conducting an exam to make sure that the students do not miss out on a year but fails to balance the equally important aspect of conducting the exam and securing the safety of the students.

The National Testing Agency, which conducts the examination, has repeatedly dismissed any request to postpone the exam. The agency said that the exams were being conducted keeping in mind the interest of the students so that they do not lose an academic year. It has also increased the number of examination centres from 570 to 660, made arrangements for alternate seating and taken steps to ensure safety.

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