The student movement against the Centre's decision to hold JEE and NEET amidst the coronavirus pandemic has been gathering steam over the past few days. On Friday, six opposition leaders moved to the Supreme Court (SC) to challenge the Centre's decision. Students have been rallying online, especially on Twitter, where the hashtag "speakforstudentsafety" has been trending since Friday. The hashtag has been used 2.25 million times.
Despite the movement gaining enormous support from across the board, the National Testing Agency (NTA) and the education ministry have refused to budge from holding JEE and NEET as per schedule in September. JEE Mains is scheduled for September 1 to 6 while NEET will be conducted for September 13.
The SC had earlier rejected a plea seeking the postponement of JEE and NEET examinations. The top court had said that the exams should not be deferred as the students would lose an academic year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The education ministry and the NTA have issued a list of guidelines and safety measures to be followed at the exam centres. However, students rallying online are not satisfied with the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) laid out by the NTA.
Chief ministers of opposition parties have said they are not in favour of conducting the exams amid the coronavirus pandemic and have rallied behind the students. Congress has launched a campaign against the government's decision to conduct the exams in September.
Several politicians, activists, Bollywood personalities, and educators have all come out in support of the students. International climate activist Greta Thunberg has also supported the students.
Most students have taken to social media demanding that the authorities postpone the JEE and NEET exams. Students have listed out many challenges they would have to face if the examinations are conducted in September. These range from high chances of contracting coronavirus to difficulties faced in reaching the exam venue. Several states in the country are suffering from severe flooding which some students say would make it impossible for them to reach the exam venue. Some are even saying that because of the COVID-19 pandemic they have not been able to concentrate on their studies and need extra time to prepare.
Here are some of the tweets by students who are requesting the Centre to postpone the JEE-NEET examinations:
500 cases : Complete lockdown
75000 cases : Students forced for exams !#SpeakUpForStudentSafety- Rohan Gupta (@rohanrgupta) August 28, 2020
Respected kindly read this statement issued by SC by this act you can postpone the exam
Sir please kindly take a look at it pic.twitter.com/qQgSXITjrB- Rohit Sharma (@RohitSh62394678) August 28, 2020
I would like you Mr President @rashtrapatibhvn to indulge in this issue because government is not helping us..
They are throwing us in the valley of death and we don't want to die..August 28, 2020
Thank you Sir for your support!! I hope the government is hearing us !!! @CMOMaharashtra #SpeakUpForStudentSafety #PostponeExams_Or_ResignModi #PostponeJEEAndNEET #UdhavThackeray@AUThackeray@VarshaEGaikwadhttps://t.co/PAp0WTzPqf- Janhavi Gite (@JanhaviGite) August 29, 2020
After Greta Thunberg, several other climate activists have also joined the movemnet
Students need to be protected, in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic & intense flooding we should not be put in further danger. Due to these reasons, I also stand with the call to #PostponeJEE_NEETinCOVID! https://t.co/BifJg643bz- Jerome Foster II (@JeromeFosterII) August 28, 2020
Today, some of our friends are planning for a protest outside the @UN 🇺🇳 Headquarter, New York at 1 pm EST. All Indians & other global friends living in USA 🇺🇸, Please join @JeromeFosterII. Thank you🙏🏻 #PostponeNEETJEE_Today #SpeakUpForStudentSafetyL- Vanessa Nakate (@vanessa_vash) August 28, 2020
Also Read:JEE, NEET 2020 exam: Here's how candidates can prevent COVID-19 infection at test centre