JEE Main 2023: Compensatory attempt not extra attempt, demand 2021 Class XII batch aspirants

The 2021 Class XII batch happens to be the most affected by the pandemic, with the entire final year held online and their JEE caught between Delta and Omicron 
Pic: EdexLive
Pic: EdexLive

"It has been of misunderstandings by some of the authorities that we are requesting/demanding for an extra attempt in the JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) Advanced 2023," writes the 2021 Class XII batch students in a detailed letter to Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. The letter continues to state, " reality we’re requesting for a relaxation in the JEE Advanced criterion of “Two attempts in Two consecutive years” vide which, the students who did not appear in the JEE Advanced twice or even once yet, can appear in the JEE Advanced 2023 as a special provision in JEE Advanced 2023 for 2021 passouts...." 

The Class XII batch of 2021 is the one who has been most impacted by the pandemic, with their final year of the school held online and JEE caught between Delta and Omicron. "(we)...suffered the worst impact in the context on both our in-school education and after-school education," they write in their letter to the Education Minister. These students have been campaigning for a compensatory attempt in JEE Advanced 2023 since August 2022, but their efforts have been fruitless. "We have sent numerous representatives and over a thousand emails and letters listing our concerns, but it seems like the authorities have turned a blind eye towards our issue," says Shubhang Sheel, a candidate who missed out on his 2022 attempt due to technical glitches. He adds, "In a mock test from yesterday, I scored a whopping 236, which places me in the top 100, so you can only imagine what I am missing out on."For context, a student gets only two consecutive attempts for JEE Advanced from board year onwards, while three attempts for JEE Main. Although the 2021 batch will be able to appear for JEE Main 2023, they remain debarred from JEE Advanced 2023. 

Relaxation for the 2020 batch, but none for 2021
To recall, the Joint Admission Board (JAB) had allowed the 2020 Class XII batch a relaxation for JEE 2022 due to the pandemic. The relaxation order came without any order of extension by the Ministry of Education (MoE) or the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The JEE Cell of IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), Guwahati, the institution conducting JEE 2023, defended JAB's decision concerning the 2021 batch, arguing that the relaxation was given in 2022 in consideration of the MHA order deeming 2021 to be in a state of a medical emergency and that no relaxation will be issued now as no such condition exists. In their response mail to students, JEE Cell, IIT Guwahati writes, "The JEE (Advanced) 2021 and 2022 were conducted after the expiration of the last Government order related to the pandemic...relaxation of eligibility criteria in 2021 as well as in 2022, through a one-time measure, was the need of the hour. The same conditions no longer exist and the absence of government orders clearly indicates that normalcy had returned before JEE (Advanced) 2021 was conducted." 

Pranavesh Ravi, another candidate from the 2021 batch, questions the arguments of the JEE Cell of IIT Guwahati, calling them fallacious he says, "These are the top institutes of the country. How are they dismissing us with such an illogical explanation? How is there no COVID during JEE Advanced 2021 a good reason to reject our plea? If that is the case how was the same relaxation given to the 2020 batch whose academic loss was far lower?" 

Is productivity the measure of merit for IITs? 
When Pranavesh emphasises that the goal of his campaign is equality and equal opportunity, he furthers the sentiment of his peers and says, "I am confident that JEE Advanced is not the end all for any of us, but the arguments put forth by JEE apex board make no sense. They are baseless to the extent that it seems egoistic rather than argumentative." He continues, "The board feels our inclusion would create unfair competition for the 2023 batch. Also, since they have been very strict about having the best minds enroll, they may believe that we are not productive enough to be allowed a shot for admission to the IITs." 

"The problem is our country refuses to look beyond what is obvious," says Abhinav Bharadwaj, JEE 2023 aspirant, adding, "Depression, financial crisis, digital divide as considerations." In the letter sent to the Education Minister, the students stress this point when they state that there are students who prepare for JEE from their Class IX or earlier. 

Justice DY Chandrachud in favour of students
In a court proceeding on July 29, Justice DY Chandrachud concurred that the students had been denied a fair chance due to technical irregularities and other issues. "If you are giving chance, then give it to all." he said, adding, "Why are you confining it...give a chance to all students. Those who have not faced technical glitches would not apply."

The students as of now are appealing for a fair chance as a gesture of empathy and consideration and as a solution for a fair competition they also insist on a higher cut-off for the second droppers either with or without reservation. "Remove reservation from the cutoffs for second droppers, since 58.8% of the relaxed eligible candidates were from reservation," they write. 

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