The officials from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health held a meeting to review the COVID-19 situation to conduct the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2021. The meeting was held earlier this week and it is likely that the medical entrance exam will be postponed. NEET 2021 is scheduled to be held on August 1, however, the application forms are still awaited. Usually, students get a window of about 60 days between application form and exam considering the logistic reasons of allowing exam centers, creating seating arrangement, admit card roll-out, application edit etc.
In 2020, the medical entrance exam was held in September. Officials in the Ministry of Education had earlier informed reporters that it is likely that NEET this year too could be postponed till September. Several reports including news agency PTI also claim that the ministry was mulling over to delay the exam while exact dates are not circled yet.
Students are seeking an end to uncertainty, they are also seeking multiple attempts for the medical entrance exams on the lines of JEE Main. Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) had earlier written a letter to Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank seeking multiple attempts for NEET 2021.
At least 14 lakh students register every year for the medical entrance exam, considering the exam is held in pen and paper mode and only on a single day, the need for exam centre increases, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic when exams are being held amid social distancing. Last year, NTA had increased the number of exam centres from 2,546 in 2019 to 3,843.
Talking to The Print, an official from the Education Ministry said that they are reviewing whether “such a large gathering can take place" given the present covid-19 situation. When the date of August 1 was finalised for NEET, the second wave was yet to hit India, now the third wave is also expected to hit India. The official hinted at an official announcement soon.