Examination centres across India started Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)-Main for undergraduate engineering aspirants on Tuesday, despite opposition from students and political parties. The centres featured staggered seating, and masks and sanitisers were made available to students.
Outside scenario of JEE exam centre. What if students parents get corona because of the stubborn attitude of govt. What about the SOPs outside JEE centre, why parents are being pushed into this deadly virus?— Bhavesh hivare (@Bhavesh31636595) September 1, 2020
Follow for all the ground updates.#JEEMain pic.twitter.com/Rt6oBgCgCt
Students Out side one of centre in Chandigarh where JEE B.Arch exam going on, NSUI who earlier Protested against the exam now helping students to distribute masks and sanitize their hands before entering the centre on Tuesday. Express video by Jaipal Singh@iepunjab pic.twitter.com/H5EkYQnCRI— Jaipal Singh (@ieJaipalSingh) September 1, 2020
Nearly 858,000 students will take the test at 660 centres across the country between 1 and 6 September as the pandemic continues to rage across the country, which recorded over 80,000 new COVID-19 cases in a day on 30 August.
Prashant Sharma, a resident of Delhi's Shahdara neighbourhood, said he did not step out of the house during the pandemic as he was busy preparing for exams. "I am fully prepared with face masks and sanitisers, but I am more scared for my father, who'll be dropping me off at the examination centre. He's in the high-risk category."
Gearing up to receive thousands of students, the examination centres' floors, walls, doors and gates will be cleaned with disinfectants. Time slots will be staggered to avoid overcrowding, the exam proctors is not allowed to touch students' documents, and they will undergo temperature checks to ensure that they don't have a fever.
The federal government has also permitted students and their guardians to make use of special suburban travel services to travel to Mumbai on exam days.
📣 Supporting students appearing for NEET & JEE exams, Railways has permitted them, and their guardians to travel by special suburban services in Mumbai on exam days.— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) August 31, 2020
General passengers are requested not to commute. pic.twitter.com/bmfTZOnvnY
Arguing that if students do not appear for exams their academic year would be in jeopardy, federal Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has asked all the states to ensure that the process remains smooth.
"On the basis of interactions with the Chief Ministers (state chiefs) and administrative level officials of almost all the states, I assure all the candidates and their guardians that they will be provided all possible assistance...," he said.
लगभग सभी राज्यों के मुख्यमंत्रियों एवं प्रशासनिक स्तर के उच्चाधिकारियों से हुई बातचीत के आधार पर मैं सभी अभ्यर्थियों एवं उनके अभिभावकों को आश्वस्त करता हूं कि उन्हें यथासंभव प्रत्येक सहायता प्रदान की जाएगी। आप सभी के उज्ज्वल भविष्य के लिए मेरी अग्रिम शुभकामनाएं!— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) August 31, 2020
The government's decision to hold exams amid a pandemic did not go down well with some students and the opposition parties.
While several students expressed issues with the commute, stating that the examination centres are too far from their homes, others noted the flood-like situations in their states.
Sir Nagpur, Bhandara, Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Mumbai and many other districts are currently flood hit!— VIKRAM MASKE (@VIKRAMMASKE5) August 30, 2020
Even MSRTC buses are not running.
Students will be unable to reach exam centres for JEE and NEET.
Please raise this issue. pic.twitter.com/HNSjuztPgq
Global climate activist Greta Thunberg also backed the students' demand to postpone the exams amid the pandemic and flooding in India.
Meanwhile, India has recorded 69,921 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. There are 785,996 active coronavirus cases, India has registered 65,288 deaths so far. However, 2,839,882 people have already recovered and been discharged.