The announcement of revised date for NEET UG 2020 by the HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal has come as a relief for lakhs of students stuck in a limbo after the exam was postponed due to extraordinary circumstances arising from COVID 19 pandemic. NEET UG 2020 which was scheduled to be conducted on 3 May 2020 will now be held on 26 July 2020.
With around 16+ Lakhs registered medical aspirants, it might have been a tough call to take by the Government. Conducting NEET UG exam under the given circumstances would require a lot of re-adjustments and resource mobilization. On the other hand, students appearing for the entrance exam are also worried over the smooth conduct of the exam concerning their safety.
However with an increasing number of positive cases of corona virus on day-to-day basis which is spreading at an alarming speed, the question arises here is ‘Is there any possibility that NEET UG 2020 may be re-scheduled again, given the fact that various experts have analysed this pandemic to make its peak by July-August?’
Let us try to understand the chances under which NEET UG entrance exam may have to be re-scheduled again.
The Government Perspective
Delay in releasing NEET Admit Card: The NEET admit card which normally is made available to the students a month before the date of NEET exam is now going to be issued only 15 days before the exam day. However, there is no specific date been announced by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on the availability of NEET UG admit card. This could mean that the Government is still unsure on the uncertainties that may arise due to COVID-19.
Re-Work on Identifying Exam Centers: Due to travel ban because of COVID-19, many students were stuck in places which were far off from their chosen exam cities. The NTA, after receiving lot of requests from students, had opened the correction facility to change their exam cities. Due to this, the NTA which had earlier identified the centers for conducting NEET UG exam may have to re-work on identifying new centers to accommodate students in non-containment zones. This is surely going to be a herculean and time-consuming process for the authorities hinting at an uncertainty on the conduct of exam as per revised date.
Ban on Movement from Containment Zones: With the Government putting a ban on public movement in and out of containment zones, students from these locations are worried over their physical appearance for the exam as well as safety. No guidelines have been issued by the Government or exam conducting body yet for such students who are stuck in containment zones which hints at the postponement of the NEET UG exam.
Meeting Quarantine Rules: With the Government rule of undergoing compulsory quarantine for people who travel back to India from abroad, Indian students from abroad are worried over their acceptance by the society after meeting quarantine rules. It will be a challenging task for the authorities too as it requires proper planning at the ground level to allot NEET exam centers for such students without causing inconvenience to other students.
International Travel Ban: With delay in release of NEET admit card and travel restrictions from abroad, many foreign students who are unsure of their exam cities and travel arrangements have requested the Government to provide local exam centres in their countries for appearing in NEET exam. However, the NTA has clarified that it is not possible to allot NEET exam centers abroad which has raised a big question on how the authorities are going to conduct NEET exam for foreign students and Indian students who are yet to return to India.
It is well known that the students experience lot of stress especially before and during the exam. Further, the fear of corona disease has just added up to their stress. As the rate of COVID-19 spread is increasing day by day, students & their parents are undergoing lot of stress over their safety during the exam.
Besides, with most of the board exams yet to commence, students are worried over balancing their preparation for board exams and NEET exam. On the other hand, students who were attending coaching for NEET exam before lock down are facing difficulties in coping up with online classes.
Citing the deteriorating health situation, students and their parents have started using various modes to raise their demand for postponement of NEET UG. While a number of students have filed Online Petitions, a number of social media users are using Twitter to express their concern. In fact one can see various hashtags like #HealthOverExams, #postponeneet2020 are trending all through the Twitter.
With so much uncertainties arising over the smooth conduct of the NEET UG exam, many students are reluctant to write the exam on given date.
Going by the previous behaviour of the exam conducting body NTA, there have been occasions when NEET exam was re-scheduled. For instance, NEET UG exam was re-scheduled for Odisha candidates in 2019 due to heavy rainfall triggered by Cyclone Fani. Similarly this year, the NTA has postponed the date of National Council for Hotel Management Joint Entrance Examination (NCHM JEE) 2020 for the second time due to COVID-19 and yet to announce revised date.
Considering all these facts, there may be some chances of postponement of NEET UG exam further if the Government is unable to control the COVID-19 pandemic situation, which has become a serious health concern worldwide.
However, it is completely uncertain if NEET is going to be further postponed or not. Instead of worrying about what is going to happen, it is advised to the students to utilize this time effectively with a positive attitude and prepare well for their board and NEET exams. As everyone is equally affected and there is no other solution, students should take the benefits out of it and prepare for NEET UG 2020 as much as they can. Right now, the focus should be on giving your best shot in the entrance exam. The rest will be looked upon by the Government, which is in fact making efforts to safeguard the health and career of the students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.