The National Testing Agency (NTA) began conducting the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) -Main for engineering aspirants as of Tuesday, despite protests over safety concerns for students and others over the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
Between September 1 and September 6, around 858,000 students will be attending 660 centers across the country for the test.
The NTA had previously announced on August 25 that, in addition to JEE-Main, it would also conduct the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical and dental aspirants on September 13.
The JEE (Main) is intended for admission to engineering schools such as the National Institutes of Technology (NITs), the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), and other centrally funded technical institutes.
The JEE Main, which takes place in two shifts in the morning and in the evening, started on Tuesday at 7.30 a.m. The entrance exam for admission to a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture will also take place on Tuesday.
NTA and the central government’s offer to run JEE-Main and NEET have sparked a series in which opposition parties have questioned the move amid the pandemic.
However, the government has been adamant as it has argued that the aspirants’ academic year is in jeopardy.
Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Monday appealed to all states to ensure that candidates can appear smoothly for JEE-Main.
“After my interactions with prime ministers and government officials in almost every state, I can assure all candidates and their parents / guardians that they will receive all possible assistance. My best wishes for the bright future from all of you! “Pokhriyal tweeted Monday night.
Rail Minister Piyush Goyal also tweeted on Monday that his ministry had allowed JEE Main and NEET aspirants and their parents to travel with special on-site services in Mumbai on the days of the exams. “Railways supports students attending NEET and JEE exams and has allowed them and their guardians to travel with special on-site services in Mumbai on exam days. General passengers are asked not to commute, ”he tweeted.
However, several candidates raised concerns about their safety.
Avya Sharma, 18, a resident of Krishna Nagar in East Delhi and JEE main candidate, said: “My father will pick me up and take me to the center as it is unsafe to take private taxis.” I will wear a mask and gloves and I will wear hand sanitizer. I am afraid for my safety. My parents ask me to respect social distance norms. Despite the exceptional circumstances, we cannot afford to miss the exam. “
The NTA has created an extensive protocol to ensure social distancing in exam centers.
Authorities have increased the number of centers to maintain social distancing standards.
The SoPs issued by the NTA for the examination centers follow:
Each exam center has the following additional inventory
1) Gloves and masks for all employees in the examination service
2) Gloves and masks for candidates in case they do not come with their own hand sanitizer on entry and in the exam centers if required
3) Spray bottles, sponges / cloths for disinfecting objects such as desk / table, door handles, etc.
4) Disinfectant liquid with 1% sodium hypochlorite for spraying in the examination centers
5) Liquid hand wash / soap in washrooms
6) Thermo guns to check the temperature of candidates and all staff on duty
How does the day in the exam centers begin?
1) The floors and walls, doors and gates of the examination centers are cleaned with spray machines for disinfection backpacks
2) The candidate’s seating area must be thoroughly cleaned (desk and chair).
3) All washrooms are cleaned and disinfected
4) Door handles, banisters, lift buttons, etc. are disinfected
5) If available, wheelchairs will be disinfected in the examination centers
6) Used gloves and masks are disposed of at the end of the day
Lead candidates after entering the examination center:
1) Shifted time slots for reporting in a bid to avoid overcrowding
2) When entering the registration room, the body temperature is recorded with a thermal scanner
3) Seating arrangements to comply with the social distancing norm.
4) A supervisor does not touch any document belonging to the candidate.
Items that are permitted for candidates in the examination room / hall:
4) Transparent water bottle
6) Examination papers
Measures after the test:
1) The candidates may move out properly one after the other.
2) Volunteers will be present along the exit path to ensure proper movement of candidates.