Reiterating his demand, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Sunday came out with 13 points urging for the need to postpone the forthcoming National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) & Joint Entrance Exams (JEE) exams in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. He pointed out that due to Lockdown restrictions, it would be a big problem for the transportation of students and their families to reach the examination centers. Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic scenario, he also pointed out many logistical problems including food supply, flood situation in many states, far-flung exam centers, which will be a tedious affair for the students to reach, etc.
Here are the 13 points raised by Subramanian Swamy, who is also a noted academician seeking to postpone the NEET & JEE exams:
- COVID-19 is increasing rapidly in our country. Rich people are least affected by this. Mostly affected are middle class and lower-middle-class people & these people cannot afford treatment.
- Now, more than 50% of cases of COVID are coming from a rural area which worsens the issue of transportation amid lockdown for the poor students to travel.
- Since the exam centers are not in every district & in addition many students have also been allotted far off centers. I myself have seen numerous students raising the issue of being allotted centers that are more than 500 KMs away
- These students with centers in different cities would have to reach that city at-least a day before which increases their susceptibility of getting infected
- Many States have still imposed lockdowns this would increase students’ problem in arranging transport and stay if they reach the center a day before
- Given that Public Transport and Trains are already shut down by the State and Central governments, how can we expect the poor students to arrange private vehicles in these conditions and as such, there is a high demand for these. In addition, the parent(s) cannot travel with these very young children which only complicates the situation further
- Another big challenge is food. How will these students get safe food during the stay in the city/ town allotted? How can they be sure that they have safe & healthy food in the current COVID situation across the nation?
- Many states like Bihar, Assam and other North Eastern States are facing major floods for a while now, which has disrupted their daily life in addition to the pandemic.
- It is abhorrent for the agencies to say that SOPs will alleviate these problems and it’s frankly shocking that this SOP is cited as being safe under the current circumstances. These SOPs failed to work in the exams conducted earlier in the year.
- It is naïve to justify by saying “when will condition improves to normal”. One cannot risk the lives of students at the cost of conducting an exam under the current situation.
- There are a huge number of students or their families who have been infected with COVID-19 & have lost precious time to prepare and be ready, in addition to the inability to attend the exams due to quarantine rules.
- In my opinion, it is dangerous & careless to think the students are mentally & physically prepared to take these exams. There are already numerous cases of suicides happening as students are unable to withstand the pressure due to the uncertainty & confusion.
- 1000s of students from abroad have to come to India for the examination & the quarantine rules will greatly inconvenience them.
I have written to the PM to postpone the exams and I am sure that he will consider it on these grounds.
On Saturday, Subramanian Swamy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard suggesting ideally exams can be conducted after the Diwali festival.