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HRD panel to review feasibility of conducting NEET, JEE in July amid COVID-19 surge

New Delhi: Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' said on Thursday a panel has been asked to decide the feasibility of conducting medical entrance exam NEET and engineering exam JEE in July as coronavirus cases are rising.

The move by the HRD Ministry comes after parents and students raised concerns about conducting the exams in July, when COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly.

"Looking at the prevailing circumstances and requests received from students & parents appearing for JEE and NEEET examinations, a committee consisting of officials from the National Testing Agency (NTA) and other experts has been advised to review the situation and submit its recommendations latest by tomorrow," Nishank said.

While medical entrance exam National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is scheduled on July 26, the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE)-Mains, for admission in engineering colleges, is scheduled from July 18-23.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had last week cancelled some board exam papers scheduled from July 1 to 15 after a group of parents moved the Supreme Court raising concerns about COVID-19 exposure risk to students.

Students have been signing online petitions and pursuing Twitter campaigns, and requesting the government to postpone the engineering and medical entrance exams as well.

Parents of nearly 4,000 NRI students based in West Asia also filed a petition in the Supreme Court Wednesday demanding the NEET be postponement. They have noted that there are no exam centres outside India and international travel is still restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Assuming that they (the students) have seats in Vande Bharat Mission flights, the students will be exposed to Covid-19 risks as also they would have to undergo quarantine on their arrival in India," the petition filed by the parents said.

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