The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test, or NEET, for admission to medical courses across the country, will be held on Sunday. The Supreme Court had earlier this month rejected petitions to postpone NEET and the Joint Entrance Examination in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The JEE has already been held from September 1 to 6, and the results declared.
“I wish good luck to all the students appearing for NEET,” Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” tweeted on Sunday morning. “I am fully confident that all the candidates, while sticking to the coronavirus protocols, will give the exam with full confidence and patience.”
The National Testing Agency will conduct the exams. The agency has released a comprehensive list of guidelines for taking the exams while following physical distancing and other protocols, NDTV reported. These include staggered reporting times and seating. Students must also wear face masks and gloves and carry their own hand sanitisers and water bottles.
The National Testing Agency has also said that there will be “isolation rooms” for students whose body temperature was over the prescribed limit. The agency has also mandated that students carry a self-declaration that they do not have any symptoms of the coronavirus or have been in touch with a coronavirus-positive person.
India’s coronavirus count rose to 47,54,356 on Sunday, with a rise of 94,372 new cases. The toll rose by 1,114 to 78,586. As many as 37,02,595 people have recovered from the infection.
States have announced several measures to mitigate the hardships and risk to students. The West Bengal government has announced a relaxation in lockdown on Sunday for the benefit of the candidates. Special metro services will also be operated in Kolkata for NEET students. Punjab has lifted its weekend curfew. Odisha has announced free transportation and accommodation for candidates. The Bihar government will operate 20 special trains for students. On the other hand, the Indian Railways has said that special local trains will be run in Mumbai for candidates and their parents.
Nearly 2.3 lakh students will appear for the NEET in Maharashtra, 1.67 lakh in Uttar Pradesh, 1.19 lakh in Karnataka, 1.18 lakh in Tamil Nadu and 1.16 lakh in Kerala. Overall, more than 16 lakh students will take the exam.
Meanwhile, data released has shown that over 1.14 lakh students dropped out from appearing for the Joint Entrance Exam in the first three days. The drop-out rate is at 25% with 3,43,958 of the 4,58,521 registered students appearing for the entrance exam.