Around 150 academicians have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in support of the Centre's decision to conduct National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). This development comes after the chief ministers of seven states held a virtual meeting with Sonia Gandhi and decided to move the Supreme Court against the conduct of the JEE, NEET exams scheduled to be held in September. Meanwhile, the admit cards of the examinations have been released. Around 6.84 lakh students downloaded NEET admit cards in the first five hours, while 7.41 students downloaded their JEE admit cards.
The academicians, in their letter to the PM, stated that the dreams and aspirations of the country's youth cannot be compromised. They also blamed political ambitions behind the furore. "The dreams and future of our youth and students cannot be compromised at any cost. However, some are trying to play with the future of our students simply to propel their own political agenda and oppose the government. We hope and strongly believe that under your able leadership, the central government will successfully conduct the JEE and NEET exams taking full precautions to ensure that the future of students is taken care of and the academic calendar for 2020-21 is rolled out," stated the letter.
The academicians also stated that people have learned how to live with coronavirus by taking all precautions and remedial measures. They welcomed the move to conduct NEET and JEE exams, reiterating the Supreme Court that said that further delay in conducting the exams would result in a waste of a "precious year" for the students.
The signatories include academicians from Delhi University, JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Gautam Buddha University, Kerala University, Central University of Jammu, Central University of Haryana, Banaras Hindu University, CCS Meerut University, as well as from the University of California, University of London, Ben Gurion University, Israel, and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, calls against the conduct of the JEE, NEET exams have also grown louder. Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia said, "The central government is playing with the lives of millions of students in the name JEE-NEET Exams. My request to the Center is to cancel both these exams immediately and make an alternative arrangement for admission this year. In this time of unprecedented crisis, an unprecedented step will lead to a solution."
Tamil Nadu government has sought an exemption for its students while Jharkhand wants the exams to be postponed. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have also opposed the exams. Environmentalist Greta Thunberg also joined the growing chorus against the exams.