The gateway examinations for two most conventional and popular courses for students, JEE (Main) and NEET, will now be conducted online twice a year, by the newly formed National Testing Agency (NTA). This decision was announced by the HRD minister, Prakash Javadekar on July 7, 2018.
The JEE (Main) will be conducted in January and April, and NEET will be held in February and May, respectively.
Taken by the sudden change in the process, there’s a sigh of relief as the students won’t have to skip an entire year to appear for the examination again. Students can appear both times and the best score out of both (in cases where the student has appeared for the exam both the times) will be counted for the admission processes.
So far, the CBSE used to conduct NEET for Medical Council of India and the Health Ministry & National Eligibility Test (NET) for University Grant Commission. But now, both these exams will be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). The JEE (Advanced) main, however, will continue to be conducted by the IITs.
Exams will be held over many days and students will get to choose a date of their convenience and choice. And, if a student appears for the JEE (Main) and NEET both times, the best of their two scores will be taken into account.
“The main feature is that students will not lose one year because there will be two examinations before admission. He/she can appear in either of the two, or both. The best score will be taken into account for the result,” Javdekar tweeted.
This change would give students more choice and lessen their stress as a result of “single exam conducted on one single day in the year. This will give more chances to students, thereby giving adequate opportunity to bring out his/ her best,” according to a statement by the government.
The NTA will conduct all exams online in order to benefit all students and give chances to test their aptitude twice a year. For students from rural areas, NTA would locate centres at sub-district/district levels for training. The basic structure of the examinations from structure to fees to format will all remain the same. The entire timetable with dates to apply and the exam itself will be uploaded on the official website of the ministry.
The NTA was established in 2017 as a society registered under Indian Societies Act. It is an autonomous and self-sustained testing organisation to conduct all entrance examinations for higher educational institutions. The need for a specialised body in India for examinations was introduced by the Finance Minister in the budget speech of 2017 – 18. According to the government, NTA will benefit all the students and create a high-reliability level for assessing aptitude. Initially, NTA will conduct those examinations which were conducted by the CBSE and eventually take up other exams, once fully functional. NTA will bring standardised difficulty level to test intelligence and aptitude of the students.
The National Testing Agency will be chaired by an eminent educationist appointed by the MHRD.
The state of Tamil Nadu is in opposition to the decision of NEET being conducted twice a year. The state government has criticised the centres’ approach by saying that it will ‘create confusion’ among the students. According to School Education Minister, K Asengottaiyan, a six month period is too short for preparation, and this matter will be taken up in front of the Prime Minister.
The opposition has also condemned the decision. “It as a conspiracy to keep the rural students out of the medical education system by the leader of the opposition”, the leader of opposition in the Assembly, MK Stalin, said.
The NEET has always been a delicate issue in Tamil Nadu. Unlike the other states, from 2006 till last year, the admissions in medical institutions in southern states happen through class 12th board exam results only.
The changes by the centre for improvement of the education system and the criteria of selection are always welcomed and students, just like the prior ones, will adapt to it all. The goal is to collectively make the process more transparent and make it available for all.