There is a heavy stress on students while preparing for competitive exams such as NEET or JEE Main during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Students and parents are sceptical about the exams being conducted during the widespread pandemic with almost all the exams being postponed along with the extension of lockdown till 3rd May 2020. Due to this, there is high uncertainty for admissions to colleges for young aspirants. In a recent report published by TOI, there are multiple schools suggesting that Class XII Board exams should be given weightage for admissions in medical or engineering colleges.
As per the official notification, lockdown is supposed to end on May 3, but there has been no decline in positive cases of COVID-19 each day. Due to this, many believe that lockdown will be further extended by the government. Life of students is imperative and they are the young talents of the country. Government and MHRD will take no risks as it may turn out to be fatal for a large population of the country. This might postpone the exams indefinitely causing complete uncertainty for JEE Main new dates.
Although Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Mr Ramesh Pokhriyal, has assured that the situation is being assessed and there will soon be a reasonable solution over how the academic calendar will continue. There are chances that a delay in the academic calendar will cause problems for both the current batch and the new batch of students who will attempt exams next year.
Suggestions for adding weightage to board exams
The senior principal of Zion and Alwin group of schools, Mr N Vijayan, told TOI that, “The impact of COVID-19 and lockdown has mentally affected students who are preparing for competitive exams like NEET and JEE Main. Students are not able to focus because of the house arrest-like situation.” He also said that NTA should reduce syllabus for NEET 2020 considering the stress on students. The government should provide weightage to board exam scores of biology, physics and chemistry for admissions to medical colleges.
G J Manohar, the headmaster of MCC Higher Secondary School, also favoured this idea. “Students are not able to go out and schools or coachings are not able to teach them. JEE and NEET is a huge challenge post-lockdown. Admissions to colleges for graduate courses can be based on board exams for this year as an exception. This would balance the competition between government and private schools too.”
A few were also against this suggestion. P G Subramanian of Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram said, “COVID-19 lockdown has affected only the last minute preparations of students. Exam preparations have been going on throughout the year. Competitive exams might be delayed by a month or two only”. He said schools have been demanding this criterion even before the pandemic started.
What could be the outcome?
For the new batch of 2021, Mr Ramesh Pokhriyal has already announced that syllabus will be trimmed proportionately to the time lost. This will be for both – board exams as well as competitive exams. But for students of the current batch, the possibility of any outcome is very uncertain. There are a total of 29 board exams still due to be held. Moreover, evaluation of answer sheets of the exams already conducted is also put on hold. The students are advised to keep learning, attempt maximum JEE Main mock tests and continue with their studies in isolation while keeping themselves healthy & safe. Students should not stress out and must be ready for all possible outcomes in the coming few months.