The injustice of risking the lives of students through exams amidst the pandemic


The new economic policy which has come after 34 years is definitely giving many hopes to the nation but still India and its education system is not over with the written examinations criteria for selecting students for higher studies. Evaluating students on just basis of a single entrance exam or on the basis of board exams is a embedded feature of the current education scenario in the country.  One single written test or you can say one single day determines the future of many aspirants. This rule of law is being criticized by many experts since ages citing that the students already spend 12 important years in school and even give many exams, still they are judged on the basis of that single odd day.

We still can understand that this process of admission would change after some years when the new NEP would come into the force. But in the times when the whole nation is suffering from such a devastating   pandemic and also when the whole nation has shifted online especially the schools and colleges, was it necessary to conduct such entrance exams on the centres?  Were there any alternatives? Risking life of many students was the only solution? These questions seek an answer as the NTA conducted JEE and NEET entrance exams recently after the proclamation which came from the supreme court of India.

Ramesh Phokriyal, the education minister of India mentioned that if we don’t conduct the exams there would be a huge opportunity loss. Also, the academic year can get shift to many months. These exams got postponed initially and were scheduled in the month of April and May. But due to national lockdown they had to defer it further.

But now consider these following things which may be the government overlooked. Firstly India is having the second highest casehold of corona at present and even registering over 90000 new cases daily.  Secondly this virus has become a deadly bio bubble which is taking a thousand of lives daily. Now after taking inspiration from these exams many colleges like DU and organisations such as CBSE are also conducting their respective exams now.  This has worsened the situation. Now contemplate this, more than 50 lakhs students would come to these centres for giving exam and consider the case that they would on an average bring a guardian along with them to centres. Hence lives of more than 1 crore people are on a complete risk and their chance of both getting infected and transmitting the virus will augment to many times. Also, they can even spread to many on their way to examination centres. So now what was the benefit of the 2 months national lockdown when we had to actually one day send them to these centres on their own fate and violate their right to have a life.

The problem exaggerated when we got to know that the students who are living in backward villages or in the flood prone areas, they don’t have proper mode of transport. Now what would happen to them?   Will they have to drop a year? Or even leave studies in between which happens commonly in these areas. Even we have the data which proves this. Only 85 to 90 % students gave NEET this year on 13th September.

Not only this the foreign students were not allowed to give the exams this year in accordance to the quarantine guidelines laid by the Indian health ministry. So, they also have to see another alternative because this year is a complete regret for them.

On one hand the govt of India has presented the bill of NEP where they are promising that now the evaluation system would include many aspects whereas on the contrary conducting such exams has become such a important deal for the government that they are risking so many lives which includes a good proportion of the youth .

Many students, parents, experts and even political parties opposed this decision but still these exams were held. The Supreme Court could have heard their plea. Also, the exams which already got postponed for 3 months could have been further deferred till the situation gets to a standstill. The government of India and the education institutes need to seek a permanent solution for this as this is not the end as the semester exams of college will happen soon. They need to take into consideration the other aspects as well and not just getting stick to a particular test. This can bring a huge change. Also, we hope that the students writing these exams currently remain safe.

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