Rao's comments come in the wake of growing clamour for postponing the two crucial exams in the wake of rise in COVID-19 cases.
New Delhi: Any further delay in conducting entrance exams JEE and NEET will have "serious repercussions" on not only the academic calendar but also career of bright students, IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao said. Rao's comments come in the wake of growing clamour for postponing the two crucial exams in the wake of rise in COVID-19 cases.
"The consequences of postponing these exams any further can have serious repercussions on IIT academic calendars and for candidates. I fail to see how we can run two batches together. It will become a zero academic year for lakhs of students. Our academic calendars are too packed already and linked to too many other things. The delays can impact the careers of so many bright students.
"We have already lost six months. If we conduct the exams in September, we can at least start the sessions in Indian Institutes of Technology (could be online) in December. Tinkering with the examination pattern or admission processes in these times will also be detrimental and unfair for everyone," Rao said in a social media post.
He said coronavirus is not going to go away for at least a year and we cannot be perpetually in lockdown mode, and appealed to the students to "trust the institutions" and take the entrance tests while strictly following the COVID-19 safety guidelines.
"COVID is not going to go away for another six months to one year. We all need to get used to this new normal. The earlier we realise that, the better it is for all of us. The last postponement of exams definitely helped us prepare well now. I feel sad for those serious students preparing for these examinations. I did receive a large number of emails from them. As if COVID-19 is not enough, this uncertainty about exam dates is further adding to the stress levels of students. Personally, I am for conducting these examinations by taking all precautions and following social distancing norms. Lockdown is not a solution to COVID. Lockdown was needed to prepare ourselves better," he said.
The IIT director also noted that the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) is now conducted multiple times a year.
"Incase some students cannot write the JEE Main this time, they can take the exam after six months again. I don't see any reason for a concern. As the JEE Advanced organising institute, I assure everyone that IITs will do their best and put their best foot forward in organising the JEE Advanced examination," he said.
Rao said they will also be closely monitoring the situation and take necessary steps as required.
"Health of candidates is of utmost concern to all of us. We all have children and we can connect with the parents of candidates," he said.
The JEE Main and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-UG) will be conducted in September as scheduled, the Ministry of Education officials had on Tuesday said, amid a growing chorus for postponing the crucial tests in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the JEE Main is scheduled from September 1-6, NEET is planned on September 13.
Several opposition leaders in India, including Congress' Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik and DMK president M K Stalin have demanded the exams be postponed.