West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre to postpone the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Aspirants seeking admission to premier engineering colleges appear for JEE, while those seeking admission to medical courses appear for NEET.
In a series of tweets, Banerjee said during CMs last video conference with Modi she had been vocal against the University Grants Commission (UGC) instructing universities and colleges to complete their final exams by September end. “In our last video conference with the Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji, I had been vocal against the UGC guidelines mandating completion of terminal examinations in Universities/Colleges by the end of September 2020, which had a huge potential to put student lives at risk,” she tweeted.
In a letter to Modi, Banerjee wrote, “We are proud of our students. They are talented in these areas, on the one hand. Covid-19 pandemic is going on and the students community on the other hand is presently suffering a lot from mental agony and depression. The students are the assets of the country and future of the world.”
Requesting the PM to reassess the decision to organise these exams, Banerjee added, “I would therefore appeal to you to kindly get the enormous health risk involved in such steps assessed. The Centre must not take a decision because of which the students feel upset. The government should also ensure that students are not deprived of the opportunity to take examinations. I am sure that you will appreciate the point and postpone these examinations until the situation is conducive again.”
Last week, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking to postpone the JEE (Main) and NEET exams to April 2020, saying a precious year of students “cannot be wasted” and “life has to go on”. JEE (Main) is scheduled to be held between September 1 and 6, while JEE (Advanced) will be held on September 27 and NEET on September 13.