NTA informs Supreme Court about not conducting Medical Entrance Exams at Overseas Exam Centres

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NEET 2020 Exam Update: Amid rising concerns about NEET 2020 which is to be held in Sept, the National Testing Agency i.e. NTA has informed the Supreme Court of India that it would not be able to hold the Medical Entrance Exams at exam centres located outside India. NTA filed an affidavit in the apex court confirming that it would not be possible to conduct NEET 2020 examination oversees. The test is held in offline i.e. paper book format, which will make it difficult for the agency to hold it at centres outside India under the currently prevailing situation of COVID-19 pandemic.

Exam To Be held on Same Day, in Single Shift

In order to ensure fairness and transparency in the testing process, the NEET 2020 exam is to be held on the same day and in a single shift across all the exam centres. This is done to ensure uniformity in testing matrices and complete fairness when it comes to evaluation of students’ abilities. This poses a unique challenge before NTA for holding the entrance exam at overseas exam centres under the prevailing situation.

Online Exam Not Feasible

NTA has also consulted MCI i.e. Medical Council of India to explore the feasibility of holding the exam online for students from outside India. However, MCI has said that NEET 2020 exam is to be conducted through Multiple Choice Questions in paper book format given to all candidates and, uniformity has to be maintained for all candidates. Therefore, holding the exam online is not feasibile.

Logistical Challenges

In addition to this, the National Test Agency has also cited logistical challenges that may hamper holding of NEET 2020 exam at overseas exam centres. In the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, NTA has stated that “Further, the question papers and other exam materials are to be transported from NTA headquarters to a large number of examination centres in various cities, which would require meticulous planning for safe and secure delivery of the same at the examination centres on time.”

Petition Filed by Parents from Gulf Countries

The affidavit filed by the NTA before the Supreme Court comes in response to a plea filed by parents of students and medical aspirants from Middle Eastern Countries, who are now unable to travel to India to appear for the medical entrance exam due to COVID-19 pandemic. The plea demanded directions from apex court to the testing agency for setting up more exam centres in Gulf countries.The plea, filed by parents of nearly 4,000 NEET (undergraduate) candidates, has sought to alternatively postpone the examination until the COVID-19 pandemic normalises. Earlier, a similar plea was rejected by Kerala High Court, after which parents decided to approach Supreme Court for relief.

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