Former Minister and senior Congress leader Raman Bhalla on Thursday strongly resented conducting NEET Exam amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He sought postponement of NEET-Undergraduate examinations, which are scheduled to be conducted in September, amid spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country. This was stated by former Minister while meeting deputation of Parents and students from Ward-49 Channi Rama, Shanker Nagar and Guru Tak Bhadur Nagar who approached him expressing risk to appear in exam at a time when there is spurt in corona cases in J&K.
Speaking on the occasion, Bhalla maintained that conducting the aforesaid examination across India at such perilous time, is nothing else but putting lives of lakhs of young students at utmost risk and danger of disease and death. The best recourse at this stage can be to wait for some more time, let COVID-19 crisis subside and then only conduct these exams, in order to save lives of the students and their parents,” he said.He claimed that NTA, which conducts entrance exams for admission in higher educational institutions in India has overlooked that many states have refused to allow conducting of any professional or non-professional exams in their states at this stage and hence the same is likely to cause unimaginable harassment to parents and other similarly situated students,” he said.
Former Minister respectfully submitted that the students who are well equipped with computer and strong internet connection will give online exams while in other hand the students who are unable to give and arrange online exams, will have to come to exam centres by risking their lives. This is discrimination between students which must be avoided,” he claimed.
He alleged that concerned authorities have ignored the plight of lakhs of students which are presently reeling under natural calamities, and conducting either online or offline exams in such places may not be possible. Students have, however, claimed that the speed of the internet is so slow that a simple audio file takes hours to download. With the current internet speed, students complain that it is not possible for them to avail the benefits of the online courses they have registered for.The communication blockade severely hampered students’ preparations, Students had no option but to sit at home, without internet, and prepare with the little material they had.”More than 1.5 million students have applied for this year’s exam. More than 30,000 are estimated to be from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Bhalla said students and parents have been flooding the social media demanding postponement of the exams amidst the COVID-19 situation in India. The way coronavirus cases are continuously increasing in the country, the way hundreds of people are being killed is raising questions about the timing of the test. These questions are being raised on behalf of the students themselves, he said. He asked who will guarantee it if they get infected with the coronavirus? The concern is not only in the minds of the students but also their parents. It is difficult for students to attend online classes on platforms like Google Classroom, Google Meet etc. because of slow internet. Students doing preparations for competitive exams cannot go for online coaching and are even unable to take online mock tests as either their exam stops in-between or sometimes questions don’t open due to slow internet speed. Not everyone can afford Wi-Fi services as such 4G network is a major requirement in today’s digital world.