Fifty-five per cent of the registered candidates attended the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)-Main on its first day in Gujarat.
Last year the JEE-Main exam, held in April, saw an overall attendance of 85 per cent.
The JEE-Main, the first national-level entrance exam since the Covid outbreak, will be held in two shifts from September 1 to 6.
Out of the 3,020 candidates registered for the exam in two shifts, only 1,669 were present on Tuesday. A total of 1,351 candidates did not take the test — 530 in the first shift and 821 in the second. Authorities attributed this high absenteeism to the delay in conducting of the exam and thus holding it after the state entrance exam — GUJCET (Gujarat Common Entrance Test), unlike normal academic years when JEE precedes GUJCET.
“The attendance of 80-85 per cent was recorded last April. On the first day, it is usually less but it improves over six days. This is expected this time too. The overall attendance will improve on the sixth day,” Virendra Rawat, the state co-ordinator for JEE-Main told The Indian Express.
Principal Secretary, Education, Anju Sharma said, “The candidates who had appeared for the GUJCET and believed that it went well had an idea where they stand a chance of admission. This was the reason why we conducted the GUJCET before JEE unlike previous years as we wanted to give this benefit to students. This can also be reflected from the fact that when the registrations for GUJCET were extended, there was a high number of students who registered for it.”
At the JEE exams on Tuesday, the attendance for morning and afternoon shifts was 58 and 53 per cent, respectively. Out of 1,278 registered candidates for the first shit, 748 took the exam, and 921 out of 1742 registered candidates attended the second shift.
As per the details shared by the state education department on Monday, out of the total 38,167 candidates appearing from Gujarat for the exam, held by the National Testing Agency (NTA), candidates will appear in two online shifts — over 35,198 for Paper I and 2,969 for Paper II — at 32 centres in 13 districts.
During the first shift, iON Digital Zone (iDZ) in Bopal, the only centre out of three to hold the exam in Ahmedabad, recorded an attendance of 56 per cent and 46 per cent in the first and second shifts respectively, as out of 460 candidates registered only 216 were present.
In Rajkot, out of 114 candidates in the first shift, 68 took the exam and out of 99 in the second shift 57 were present.
In Vadodara, at the two centres, out of 179 total candidates, 93 were present in the first shift and out of 234 candidates 130 attended the second shift.
Declining to attribute the high absenteeism to Covid-19 or heavy rains, NTA co-ordinator Rawat said, “We did not receive any such reason that they would be late or could not reach the exam centre due to Covid-19 or rain or facing any transportation issue.” No such complaints were made by the candidates at the examination centre in Bopal which this paper visited during the morning shift.
“Things are well and we have received support from every quarter, be it state government or community. The state government has designated a nodal officer in every district and even the candidates have been supportive and disciplined. This will be best experience to be quoted in the future as a best way of testing,” he added.
However, exam co-ordinator for Surat Dr Moutali Mittra blamed it on Covid 19. “We have got registration of 8,106 students in Surat for the exam. On first day, the students were lesser in number due to the pandemic,” she said. Out of 535 registered students, a total of 301 students appeared for the exams at one centre at Unn in Surat city. Surat has a total of six centres.
A day before the exam, Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama had stated, “The state government has ensured that all SOPs are being followed for candidates. We have taken care of safety of candidates by ensuring social distancing, sanitisation and face masks at each examination centre. Also, co-ordination with other departments like electricity, transport and health along with police will be ensured so that candidates do not face any difficulty in reaching the examination centres and ensure no overcrowding.”
The centres selected , mostly on the outskirts of cities, include government and non-government colleges, private universities and schools.
Mittra said, “Tomorrow the exams will be conducted at Sitarambhai Naranji Patel Institute of Technology and Research Centre Umrakh and Sutex Bank College of Computer Application and Science.”
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