Indian students concerned about entrance exams amid COVID-19 | Coronavirus pandemic News
More than two million people are expected to take medical and engineering school admission tests next week amid the pandemic.
More than two million Indian students will take tests for admission to medical and engineering schools next week, the government said on Wednesday, despite growing concerns that the move could fuel an increase in coronavirus infections.
Many students, parents and opposition leaders have opposed the government’s decision to hold testing amid a pandemic.
Many students have to travel long distances and there is a risk of infection, said the All India Students’ Union, a group that represents university students. He urged students to wear black armbands and join online protests to pressure the government to postpone testing until infection rates drop.
Nearly 5,000 students took part in a virtual hunger strike at their homes on Tuesday in protest.
Students on social media have expressed concerns about the health risks and the availability of transport to the centers, as public transport is still limited.
MP Rahul Gandhi said the concerns of students over the COVID-19 crisis, lack of transportation and flooding in the states of Assam and Bihar are real.
“GOI [Government of India] must listen to all stakeholders and find an acceptable solution, ”he tweeted.
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg also addressed the dispute, asking for a postponement.
“It is deeply unfair that Indian students are being asked to take national exams during the COVID-19 pandemic and when millions of people have also been affected by the extreme flooding,” Thunberg said on Twitter Tuesday.
“In the interest of the students”
But the government has issued review protocols, including social distancing and fever checks.
The National Testing Agency (NTA), which will host the JEE and NEET exams, said the tests are being done “in the interest of the students and the country.”
On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a postponement request, saying the delay would result in an unacceptable loss of the academic year.
India has reported more than 75,000 infections, now the highest number of cases in the world since August 7, according to a Reuters tally. With 3.2 million cases, it ranks third after the United States and Brazil, although its 59,449 deaths are far fewer.
Now the government is pushing for a return to normalcy to ease the economic pain, having imposed a strict and early lockdown on India’s 1.3 billion people in March.
“We are very concerned about the safety of our students, we will take all precautions,” Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal told state radio, adding that testing should be organized to ensure that students did not waste a year.
Already twice postponed this year, the tests will be spread over several days and will take place in more centers than usual, to ensure that there is no overcrowding.