Increasing the number of examination centres, alternate seating plan, fewer candidates per room and staggered entry and exit are among the steps the National Testing Agency (NTA) will take for safely conducting medical and engineering entrance exams — NEET and JEE in September.
These steps have been introduced to ensure adherence to social distancing norms at the centres in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as chorus grew for postponing of the crucial exams.
Officials in the Ministry of Education, however, asserted the exams will be conducted as per schedule.
While the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) is scheduled from September 1-6, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-UG) is planned on September 13.
“The number of examination centres have also been increased from 570 to 660 (for JEE Main) and 2,546 to 3843 (for NEET). While JEE-Mains is a computer-based test, NEET is a pen-paper test,” the NTA said in a statement.
“Additionally, in case of JEE-Mains, the number of shifts has been increased from the earlier 8 to 12, and the number of candidates per shift has been reduced from earlier 1.32 lakh to 85,000 now,” it said.
For ensuring social distancing outside the examination hall, the entry and exit of candidates has been staggered, it added.
“Adequate arrangements have also been made outside the examination centres to enable candidates stand with adequate social distancing while waiting. Candidates have also been issued advisory guiding them about ‘Dos and Don’ts’ for proper social distancing,” it added.
There have been demands from several students and parents to further postpone the entrance exams in view of increasing coronavirus cases.