Coronavirus: Pattern of postponed entrance tests won’t change, says Edu Secy Amit Khare

Written by Ritika Chopra
| New Delhi |

Published: March 30, 2020 12:29:07 am

Amit Khare.

THE PATTERN of questions in competitive exams for admission to centrally run educational institutions will not change even if the tests are deferred till July due to the coronavirus lockdown, Education Secretary Amit Khare told The Indian Express.

The government is also exploring ways to conduct the remaining Class 12 Board examinations, even if the lockdown doesn’t end as announced on April 14, he said. “A modality will have to be worked out,” he said.

Besides, Khare said, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Central Tibetan Schools and CBSE schools will move to online learning in the first week of April. He said the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is already airing lessons on its SWAYAM channels and has online content ready for Classes 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Asked about the entrance tests, Khare said they “will be conducted after the lockdown ends”. “The paper pattern, we are definite, will not change even if the exams are held in July. If we say ‘let’s have one paper instead of two’, that will put all the students, who have prepared as per a set pattern, at a big disadvantage. They have put in a year’s hard work. We can’t have a shortcut here,” he said.

On March 28, The Indian Express reported on how 45 lakh students preparing for major competitive exams over the next three months are stranded, with the lockdown impacting the calendar by at least a month.

The tests expected to be delayed include JEE (Advanced), JEE (Main), NEET, UGC-NET, CSIR UGC-NET and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) AIEEA.

The Board exams for Class 12, Khare said, “are critical as these marks are used for admission in different universities”.

“There are certain core subjects left. Having (these) exams from home will not be proper. We will have to conduct the regular exam as soon as the lockdown is lifted,” he said.

On the options before the government, if the lockdown is extended, Khare said CBSE may still have to go ahead, keeping in mind the sanctity of the process and without putting any section of students at a disadvantage.

“The numbers (of candidates) are huge, and the centres dispersed. Secondly, it should not be unfair to some students who are dependent on public transportation to reach the test centres. The well-off can use their own vehicles. We will ensure the children are not put to a disadvantage,” he said.

The CBSE could consider having multiple sets for each of the remaining core papers and stagger the dates for students of different regions, he said.

The CBSE had to defer 41 papers of Classes 10 and 12 in the wake of the virus outbreak. Of these, six are “major subjects” of Class 12 — Business Studies, Geography, Computer Science, Hindi (Core and Elective), Home Science and Sociology.

About 3.5 lakh students are expected to appear for Business Studies, one lakh for Geography, 2.5 lakh for Information Practice and Computer Science, 3.4 lakh for Hindi (Core and Elective), 58,000 for Homes Science and 45,000 for Sociology.

For KVs, CBSE schools and Central Tibetan Schools, Khare said, the government has asked NIOS to “prepare a class-wise and subject-wise schedule for the online content so that students can follow it”.

“Whenever schools reopen, there will be no learning loss as students would have studied some of the chapters in a systematic manner. We have also requested NIOS to air lessons over radio. For junior classes, we have asked them to work with Kendriya Vidyalayas on the new academic session plan,” he said.

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