– Dipta Joshi
Students appearing for the online National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) post graduate exams scheduled for 18 April are under pressure in the wake of several state governments announcing lockdowns and curfews to deal with rising COVID-19 cases in the states. NEET aspirants who were unable to register with online examination centres in their home state have had to opt for centres in states like Maharashtra and Chattisgarh etc. that are currently in a lockdown or near-lockdown situation. Students worry with each state having its own pandemic related guidelines regarding travel restrictions and the number of days for quarantine etc., students may be unable to reach and attend the exams.
NEET PG exams required for admission to various MD (Doctor of Medicine) and MS (Master in Surgery) and PG diploma courses across the country are conducted online by the National Board of Examination (NBE). However, students are expected to write the three and a half hours online exam only at the designated 255 centres across the country. With 1,74,000 students applying for 54,409 MD/MS and diploma seats, online centres in several centres were full by the end of the day itself forcing students to seek examination seats in other states.
“I belong to Andaman and Nicobar island but with no centres available here, I had to choose Nagpur as my examination centre. Given the high number of COVID-19 cases in Nagpur (over 5000 on 7 April) I would like to avoid going to Nagpur. However, there is no option of changing one’s centre on the NBE website. We would be risking our lives visiting cities in the grip of the pandemic’s second wave. We request the government to postpone the exams until later,” says NEET aspirant, Dr Shivangi.
NBE began accepting online applications for designated exam centres on 23 February. However, within hours seats to exam centres in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry got filled leaving many students to choose examination centres across other states.
“Students are demanding the exams be postponed but the chances of that happening are too slim. However, we are hopeful the government will allow students to change their centres or find any alternative for them before admit cards for the forthcoming exams are distributed on 12 April. The pressure of the staying safe in another city during the pandemic can affect their exams. As this is a tough time for students, the government must give NEET aspirants some leeway,” says Gaurav Tyagi, founder, Career Expert.National, News