Published: 17th May 2020
Indians in UAE demand local test centres for NEET due to travel concerns during pandemic
The exam is open to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) but they must travel to one of the test centres in India as the exam is only offered offline
Indian students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed an online petition for a local centre to conduct the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) because of uncertainty over travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. NEET which is the sole entrance exam for undergraduate medical courses in India conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), is scheduled to take place on July 26, Gulf News reported on Saturday.
The exam is open to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) but they must travel to one of the test centres in India as the exam is only offered offline. Some 1.5 million students are registered to take NEET 2020, including around 300 from the UAE.
Students in the UAE generally choose their home city or state in India to appear for the NEET exams.
Simran Shinde, who recently graduated from high school in Abu Dhabi, said she registered to take the NEET in Mumbai or Pune (both cities in Maharashtra state) as part of her options, which have "most of the coronavirus cases and red zones".
"The best thing would be to have a test centre arranged in the UAE for NEET this year, taking all the necessary precautions and approvals," Gulf News quoted Shinde as saying. Another candidate, Sharjah-based Ardra Sudhir, said she was yet to receive notification for which test centre she will take the test.
India expat Jiya Shankar commented on ipetitions.com, which is hosting the petition, "there are many students from UAE who are enrolled to give the exam. "Travel and stay in India will be very tough to arrange in time for the exam. It will be safer for everyone if an exam centre is held in UAE".
Meanwhile, Subramanian Krishnamoorthy, CEO of the UAE-based Meccademia Education Group which prepares candidates for NEET and other exams, said the suggestion was "under consideration" by the NTA. Krishnamoorthy said Meccademia can provide its facilities for a local test, bearing its expenses, at its 10 centres in the UAE with a total capacity of 500 candidates.