NEET medical entrance exam was held in over 3,800 centers across the country on Sunday under strict precautions in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. Students stood in line according to the established time slots and adhered to social distancing norms. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) started at 2 p.m., but entry to the centers started at 11 a.m. Students have been allocated different slots for entry to ensure movement is staggered and social distancing is maintained.
Over 15 Lakh candidates have signed up for NEET, which has already been postponed twice due to the pandemic.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” wished the candidates who appeared for the exam the best of luck and assured them that arrangements have been made for their safety.
“Best of luck to candidates who appear for NEET today. I am confident that students will show up for the exam with confidence and that they are following all guidelines. All states have taken the necessary precautions to ensure the hygiene and safety of students as per the guidelines, ”he tweeted.
Mohammad Ovais, who came here from Moradabad to his exam center in Dilshad Garden, said his boarding place was at 11 a.m.
“I left Moradabad at 5am. It is not so risky if everyone follows all the precautions. The problem arises when people take it casually. There was no crowding in the centers as everyone had set slots, ”he said.
Vanhika Chaurasia, a Rohini resident, said, “An online exam would have been a better option than a pen and paper test, but we don’t have an option. A major delay in exams would have resulted in a year loss. “
For Yuvraj Kumar, the bigger problem was traveling by public transport.
“Fortunately, the subway services resumed before the exam because I was concerned about it and other public transportation is not as safe. We were given separate masks in the middle and had to dispose of the ones we were wearing earlier, ”he said.
Ajmal Ismail, who shows up for examination at a Mayur Vihar center, said: “More than the coronavirus, it was the fear that exams would take place or be postponed that caused me more stress. I prepared well and took all precautions. ”
By 5pm on Saturday, more than 15 lakh of the 15.97 lakh registered candidates had downloaded their tickets.
Various state governments had announced free transport and accommodation, including West Bengal, which operated a special underground service for candidates.
The exam was postponed twice due to the pandemic and the government decided to continue the exams despite opposition to mitigate further academic losses.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) has set strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in view of the pandemic, including measures like reducing the number of candidates per room from the previous 24 to 12.
The NTA has also increased the number of centers from 2,546 in 2019 to 3,862 this year to ensure crowd management and staggered entry and exit protocols. In contrast to the Engineering Entrance (JEE), NEET-UG, the medical approval test, is a pen and paper test that is held once a year.
Accordingly, this week the NTA switched centers for some candidates to meet social distancing norms and Covid restrictions. However, the city of the exam center has not changed for any candidate. The centers with more than 900 candidates were divided into two centers.
While all candidates were asked to go to the exam centers with masks and disinfectant, upon entering the center they were asked to use the three-layer masks provided by the examining authority.
The NEET-UG was originally planned for May 3rd, but was postponed to July 26th and then planned for September 13th.