Published: 12th September 2021
NEET 2021: Test kicks off in 697 centres across the country. Centres in Dubai and Kuwait too
The exam will end at 5 pm today and decide the fate of 1.6 lakh medical aspirants. Result to be declared by the end of September
After multiple postponements thanks to the pandemic, a minor Supreme Court battle for yet another rescheduling, and statements from political players on everything from dates to necessity of the exam, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical aspirants across the country has finally kicked off. Students in 202 cities in India, and Dubai and Kuwait are attempting the OMR-based question paper, which will decide if they can study medicine. The Naitonal Testing Agency (NTA) which conducts the exam, will release the results in the last week of September, after which counselling will follow, in order to allot seats to qualifying students.
This year, the Education Ministry has made one exam centre available each in Dubai and Kuwait for the first time in order to aid students living abroad, who are grappling with travel restrictions because of the pandemic. Students were also opposing the exam date via a petition in the Supreme Court, claiming that it clashes with other entrance exams, and state board exams. However, the Supreme Court had asked the petitioning students to take the matter up with the NTA, and that it wouldn't be logistically practical to postpone the exam. The NTA has maintained that strict COVID-19 protocol will be followed, which includes not allowing more than 20 students in an exam hall.
The test, which was originally due to be held on August 1, was postponed to the current date in light of the rising cases during the second COVID-19 wave in India. The NTA has also altered the question paper pattern a smidgen, allowing internal choice in the questions, and dividing the questions into two separate sections. All questions are multiple choice, and will earn the candidate four points for the right answer, and cause them to lose a point for a wrong answer.
In Tamil Nadu, which has vehemently opposed the national entrance exam, tradegy struck a 19-year-old aspirant, who was found dead in his room on the morning of the exam. The student was set to appear for the test for the third time. Tamil Nadu has claimed that the test makes it hard for students from low income families to clear it without acquiring extensive, and often, expensive coaching.