NTA may double NEET test centres in view of COVID-19: Report

NTA may double NEET test centres in view of COVID-19: Report
Team Careers360 | May 7, 2020 - 3:44 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The National Testing Agency is considering doubling the number of exam centres for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, or NEET 2020, for admission to medical colleges, The Indian Express has reported.

The NTA is considering the change to enable social distancing as applicants gather to write the test soon after the nation-wide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus is lifted or relaxed. The report adds that the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) has asked the NTA to double the number of test centres for NEET. However, there won’t be a similar increase in the number of centres for the Joint Entrance Examination Main, or JEE Main 2020, for engineering admissions. The JEE Main 2020 will be held from July 18 to 23.

Around 6,000 centres for NEET
Following government guidelines on social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic -- which require two candidates to sit at least two metres apart -- around 6,000 centres will be required to seat 16.84 lakh NEET test-takers. Last year, the total number of exam centres across the country was 2,546.

Since it will be the first competitive exam to be conducted in so many exam centres in India, it will take a month to add around 3,000 centres, an NTA official was quoted saying by the Indian Express. The official said that the offline nature of the exam is what made NEET difficult to conduct.

In the case of JEE Mains, more shifts and another 150 to 200 centres will be added to the existing 600.

Generally, in the pen-and-paper test, only one question paper is handed out and the test is written in one shift. and to be conducted in one shift.

More centres for JEE Advanced?
When asked about JEE Advanced centres, the chairman Sidharth Pandey told IE, that it may be difficult to find more centres with better infrastructure. The selected 600 centres are the best offered by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for a single day. He is doubtful if the authority can find more centres with better infrastructure.

NEET is usually conducted in Kendriya Vidyalayas, CBSE-affiliated schools, engineering colleges and state colleges. This year, the exam will be held on July 26, 2020, for admission to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH, BVSc & AH courses. It was earlier scheduled to be held on May 3, 2020, which was later postponed in view of the COVID-19 lockdown. JEE Advanced will be held for admission to IITs and will be conducted in two shifts in a single day in August. The date for it is yet to be announced.

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