Pokhriyal hails grit of 'Atma Nirbhar' students, says 90% candidates sat for NEET 2020
New Delhi, Sep 13: Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Sunday said that around 85-90% students appeared at the NEET exam despite the coronavirus pandemic. He said this "reflects the tenacity and grit of young".
"NTA informed me that around 85-90% students appeared in NEET exam today. I sincerely thank all Chief Ministers and @DG_NTA for proper arrangements made to facilitate student participation. NEET participation reflects the tenacity and grit of young AtmaNirbharBharat," Pokhriyal said on Twitter.
Medical entrance exam NEET began on Sunday amid strict precautions in view of the COVID-19 pandemic at over 3,800 centres across the country with students queuing up as per their designated time slots, adhering to social distancing norms
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) began at 2 pm, but entry to centres started at 11 am. Students were allotted different slots for entry to ensure there is staggered movement and social distancing is maintained.
Over 15 lakh candidates have registered for NEET, which was earlier postponed twice in view of the pandemic.
Till Saturday 5 pm more than 15 lakh of the 15.97 lakh registered candidates downloaded their admit cards.
Various state governments had announced free transportation and accommodation, including West Bengal that ran special metro service for candidates.
The exam has been postponed twice due to the pandemic and the government decided to go ahead with the exams, despite opposition, to mitigate any further academic loss.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) has set in place strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) in view of the pandemic, including measures like reducing the number of candidates per room from the earlier 24 to 12.
The NTA has also increased the number of centres from 2,546 in 2019 to 3,862 this year to ensure crowd management and staggered entry and exit protocols. Unlike the engineering entrance (JEE), NEET-UG, the medical admission test, is a pen and paper exam and held once a year.
Accordingly, the NTA has changed centres for a few candidates this week in compliance with social distancing norms and COVID restrictions. However, the city of the exam centre hasn't been changed for any candidate. The centres which had more than 900 candidates are distributed into two centres.
While all the candidates were asked to go to the exam centres with masks and sanitisers, once they entered the centre, they were asked to use the three-ply masks provided by the examination authority.
The NEET-UG was originally scheduled for May 3, but was pushed to July 26 and then scheduled for September 13.