The surge in new COVID-19 cases has forced the government to delay major engineering and medical entrance tests even further. On Friday, the HRD Ministry announced JEE (Main) would now be conducted between September 1 and September 6, NEET on September 13 and JEE (Advanced) on September 27.
Here is how this will affect the new academic session for students entering higher education this year.
How did the government decide the new examination schedule given there is no visibility on when the pandemic will end?
The HRD Ministry set up a four-member committee on Thursday to revise the examination schedule for JEE (Main) and NEET. The panel was chaired by Director-General of National Testing Agency Vineet Joshi. IIT-Delhi director Ramgopal Rao, IIT-JEE Chairman Siddharth Pandey and Additional Secretary, HRD Ministry, Rakesh Ranjan were its other members. The government’s decision to postpone the entrance tests even further was based on the inputs of this committee.
According to sources, the committee felt that delaying the exams was inevitable since many tests centres were falling in containment zones. As per the data collected by the panel, about 40 JEE (Main) test centres (out of 650) are currently in containment zones. Close to one lakh candidates were scheduled to take the entrance test at these centres. Hence, they would have been adversely affected if NTA had conducted JEE (Main) in July.
After agreeing on the delay, the panel then had to propose new dates for the two entrance tests. “It was felt that September would be the safest and the earliest when the exams could be conducted next,” said a source, who did not wish to be identified. NTA then reached out to the service provider that conducts JEE (Main) online for the Agency to check if the designated test centres are available in the first week of September. Once the service provider green-lit the proposed dates in September, the panel forwarded its recommendation to the government.
When will NTA declare NEET and JEE (Main) results?
The National Testing Agency or NTA takes a week typically to declare JEE (Main) results and a month for NEET. However, given the pandemic-induced disruption in the examination calendar, the Agency has decided to announce JEE (Main) results in five days, around September 11, and NEET results in 20 days, by the first week of October.
And the JEE (Advanced) results?
The IITs will try to declare the results on the eight day from the exam, that is by October 5. Joint counseling for the IITs and NITs would begin latest by October 7 and last for a month.
How will the delayed entrance tests affect the new academic calendar?
The government is now aiming to wrap up the counselling process for engineering and medical programmes by Diwali, that is November 14 latest. Hence, higher education institutions may only be able to start classes for first-year students around November-end or first week of December. The IITs may ask the new batch to join only in December.
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