Fresh exam schedule for CBSE, JEE and NEET likely on Monday

NEW DELHI: Amid growing clamour that the remaining CBSE board examinations be cancelled and dates for the crucial competitive tests for engineering and medical colleges across the country be extended, the Union Human Resources Development Ministry is set to announce its revised decisions by early next week.

The ministry had announced last month that the remaining CBSE class X and XII examinations will be held between July 1 and 15, Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main will be held between July 18-23 and the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) will be conducted on July 26.

Sources in the ministry said that after internal discussions, consultations with Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the health ministry have been started on the manner and dates for these examinations again.

“Many states are not in favour of conducting board examinations at all and have suggested that marking in the remaining papers be done on the basis of averaging of other papers and internal assessment done in schools earlier as calling students on examination centres amid rising Covid-19 cases can be very risky,” an official said.

“In such a scenario, the ministry too feels that the board examinations be cancelled and a final decision is likely to be announced by Monday,” he added.

Officials also said that Union HRD minister had met Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday to discuss these issues and another meeting with Union health minister Harsh Vardhan is planned on Saturday evening on the same.

Maharashtra, Delhi and Odisha had earlier asked the Centre to consider cancelling the board examinations and the Supreme Court too had asked the CBSE to take a decision in this regard by next week.

Officials however conceded that while cancelling the board examinations was still a viable option seeing the pandemic situation in the country, the National Testing Agency, that conducts NEET and JEE (Main) has not been able to decide on the fate of these entrance tests.

“Considering that these tests are extremely important for lakhs of students looking for careers in medicine and engineering—not holding the examinations are not the option but the question being discussed is how to do that ensuring minimum risk possible to candidates and teachers,” said another official.

A proposal that has emerged is that NEET be conducted in both online and offline modes in a staggered manner so that crowding is avoided at examination centres.

“Nothing, however, is final yet and will be decided only over the next few days,” the official also said.

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