New Delhi: Seventy four per cent candidates, of those who had registered for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) Main this year, had appeared for the exam, official data released by Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank late Wednesday night revealed.
According to information shared by the minister in a series of tweets, 8.58 lakh candidates had registered for JEE (Main), 6.35 lakh of whom appeared for the exam held from 1-6 September.
“Out of 8.58 lakh JEE Mains applicants, 6.35 lakhs appeared for the exam,” he tweeted. “Central and respective State Governments assured all possible assistance to the students, for which I compliment all State Governments as well. This entire effort displayed the spirit of cooperative federalism.”
Out of 8.58 lakh #JEEMains applicants, 6.35 lakhs appeared for the exam. Central & respective State Governments assured all possible assistance to the students, for which I compliment all State Governments as well. This entire effort displayed the spirit of cooperative federalism
— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) September 9, 2020
The entrance exam had been mired in controversy as students were protesting against the government’s decision to conduct it amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Students across the country were demanding that the exam be postponed, with the opposition parties uniting and supporting them. The exam had also been dogged by claims of low attendance, particularly on Day One.
According to data shared by the National Testing Agency (NTA) last week, the attendance for the exams was low on the first day — 54.67 per cent — but picked up on the second and third days to 81.08 and 82.14 per cent, respectively.
The results will now be declared on 11 September, on the basis of which qualifying candidates will sit for JEE Advanced, meant for admission to Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The JEE Advanced is scheduled to be held on 27 September.
Minister says two JEEs to blame for low attendance
This year’s attendance of 74 per cent is lower than last year’s figure of 94.14 per cent.
Commenting on the low attendance in the exams, the minister tweeted that this could be attributed to the JEE being held twice a year.
“JEE Exams are held twice in a year. The previous one was held in January this year,” he tweeted. “Several students who didn’t appear for the exam in September may have done well in the January exam hence did not feel the need to sit for the exam this time. We are ascertaining those numbers.”
Pokhriyal was replying to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who had earlier in the day alleged that 18 lakh students had downloaded the admit card and only 8.5 lakh appeared for the exam.
I just accurate count on how many students took the JEE exams this last week: out 18 lakhs who down loaded passes only 8 lakhs turned up to take up the exam. What a disgrace for the nation which extols vidhya and gyan!!
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) September 9, 2020
Swamy had been supporting the students’ demand to postpone NEET and JEE in view of pandemic.
Exam in a pandemic
Given that the exams were held in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, the NTA had taken a number of measures to ensure that they were conducted safely. It increased the number of exam centres across the country and students were called in scattered timings in different shifts to ensure physical distance is maintained inside the exam hall. There were protocols with respect to entry and exit from the exam hall as well.
Candidates were asked to wear masks at all times while writing the exam. The exam centre issued fresh masks to candidates before they entered the exam hall and made them sanitise their hands. Temperature was checked before a candidate entered the exam centre and if someone had a high temperature, the candidate was asked to sit in the isolation room for a while till the temperature was normal. The isolation room was meant for candidates who are either Covid-positive or have symptoms.
The NTA had also asked students to make an advance declaration if they have any Covid-like symptoms or if they are Covid-positive. They were asked to submit a self-declaration form along with the admit card.
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