By CNM Education Desk
India crosses 2.53 million Covid-19 cases.49.036 deaths have been reported,so far. In the wake of such a pandemic situation,how can the National Testing agency move ahead with its NEET and JEE Main exams,scheduled from Sep 1 to 6 and Sep 13 respectively? Rapid spread of Covid-19 clusters throughout India pose a threat to the safety of 15 lakhs students and their accompanying parents who are expected to turn out for these tests.
Who will take safety responsibility for the children and examiners?
Lakhs of students are engaged in an online campaign against conducting these tests in September.
National Eligibility cum Entrance Test is scheduled to September 13,2020.
While the conducting authority,NTA is spearheading with its schedule,some students belonging to various states have approached the Supreme Court for further extension of the national level test in the wake of rapid spread of Covid-19 cluster cases throughout the country.Earlier,the test was postponed as the corona virus cases grew in large numbers. Many places were under lock down and contained from other places.Actually,the date of NEET was 3 rd May,2020.In the first postponement,the date was scheduled for July 26.And,September 13 is the second reschedule of the exam. However,Covid-19 situation is worse than ever and parents and children are anxious about the exam during the time of cluster spread of Covid-19.The highly infectious pandemic is a serious concern when lakhs of students come out from their homes and take the test from the allotted exam centres at various cities.
KEAM-2020 held at Pattom Tiruvananthapuram. The exam day witnessed huge crowd,violating all social distancing rules.Few students and parents tested positive after the exam.
Some pleas are already filed in the Supreme Court in favour and against the conduction of the tests.
.The court is expected to take a decision by tomorrow.
All these developments have created a sort of uncertainty in the minds of NEET and JEE aspirants amid this fatal virus threat that too with a large number of untraceable sources, reported through the country.
Around nine lakh students are expected to attend JEE main examination.
In today’s context, when NEET and JEE aspirants reach the exam centers are said to be unsafe.
Travelling in public transportation and possible contacts of people from Covid-19 hotspots really concerns,say some students and parents.
NTA is reportedly ready to arrange safety protocols at exam centers. But,things are not so smooth as the testing agency planned earlier.Many foreign universities are either cancelled or postponed.University examinations.
Another criticism against conducting the tests in September is that America failed to ensure safety measures at schools during the post lock down reopening.
Many students got infected during this time and proved to be a wrong decision.
More students and teachers are testing positive for Covid-19
Over the last four weeks, there has been a 90% increase in the number of Covid-19 cases among children in the United States, according to a recent analysis by the American Academy of Paediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
Several clusters of corona virus cases emerged in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi schools within days of starting classes.While most of the nation’s largest school systems are planning to start the school year completely online.
What medical experts say?
According to expert views, there are some options in front of the agency and the government.
One is postponement of these exams until December by then Covid-19 cases are expected to flatten it’s spread.
“How does #COVID19 spread?Mainly by droplets from person to person, could also be through small droplets or aerosols that remain in air for some time, & through fomites. In closed, crowded settings, aerosol spread could happen & precautions should be taken. The science is evolving.”-Dr.Soumya Swaminthan,Chief Scientist ,WHO
“UG NEET may be fixed for Sep 13, considering the early impression that COVID curve may flatten by then. In UK Royal college fixed all their MRCP exams for September 20. Now they are thinking of postponing all practical examinations to December. May be if conditions are the same, these dates may be pushed forward. Regarding NEET, they are thinking of online examination where the candidates need not go to examination halls and crowding is avoided. Pen and paper examination is out of question in the present situation.
Dr C Ravindran MD, DTCD, FRCP, MBA Professor & Head Dept. of Pulmonary Medicine DM Wayanad Institute of Medical Sciences Wayanad, Kerala.Former Principal,Calicut Medical College
Specialty Certificate Examinations (SCEs): The SCEs due to take place between now and the beginning of September 2020 have been cancelled.
The Federation recognises the impact these cancellations will have for the many candidates who sit the MRCP(UK) examinations around the world. We find ourselves in extraordinary times and have had to make this decision in the interests of safety for all involved – patients, surrogates, centre administrators, candidates and examiners.