Paralysed by fear

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/27/2020 12:13:05 PM IST

 It was not entirely unexpected that the principle of what is proposed is also opposed when academics turned into politics over the issue of holding National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test(NEET) and Joint Entrance Exam(JEE). Generally, the JEE (Mains) exams for engineering aspirants are conducted in April while NEET is conducted for medical aspirants in May. These exams have already been deferred twice in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. JEE-Main 2020 was originally supposed to be held from April 7-11, but postponed to July 18-23, NEET-UG was originally scheduled for May 3, then pushed to July 26. They were postponed again and are now scheduled in September this year. The union ministry of education has scheduled NEET to be held on September 13, engineering entrance exam JEE Main has been planned from September 1-6. Around 9.53 lakh candidates have registered for JEE-Mains and 15.97 lakh students have registered for NEET. While the Centre’s decision to hold NEET, JEE exams amid COVID-19 has found support among academicians, more Opposition leaders have joined the bandwagon opposing the move. The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test and the Joint Entrance Exam are supposed to be an academic affair where the only concern should be on cracking it. However, 2020 is no normal year and the hysteria over the coronavirus pandemic has given way to political fight. During a virtual meeting with chief ministers of seven states convened by Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee urged her fellow state chiefs to challenge the Supreme Court order together. Two main players in what is seemingly going to be a political war - Mamata Banerjee and Sonia Gandhi- have brought others like JMM’s Hemant Soren and Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray together to demand what Congress leader Rahul Gandhi calls an “acceptable solution”. A day after seven chief ministers of non-BJP ruled states decided to jointly move the Supreme Court against the Centre’s decision to hold the NEET and JEE (Main) exam amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the tug of war over the exams continued on Thursday with more voices joining both sides of the argument. Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and DMK chief MK Stalin too reiterated their opposition the exams. On Thursday, Stalin even urged the chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to join the Opposition as they unite to move the Supreme Court against the exams. Students’ organisations, such as AISA, SFI, NSUI among others, have been holding consistent social media campaigns to demand the cancellation or postponement of the exams. Calling the Centre “ever insensitive”, major opposition party Chief Ministers have come together and made this academic affair a political playground where the theatre of CMs versus the Centre is being played out with emotions. On the flip side, while 150 academicians wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying any further delay will compromise students’ future, directors of several IITs warned that that academic year will turn ‘zero academic year’ if exams are not held as scheduled. The opposition appears to have utilised the current COVID-19 pandemic to object against scheduling of exams due to safety concerns for the 25 lakh candidates.The National Testing Agency(NTA) which conducts the exams has taken measures to address safety concerns. In the ultimate analysis, morbid fear of the pandemic cannot be allowed to hold life to ransom and it is incumbent upon all to ponder over this.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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