JEE Mains held amid stringent precautions

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The Joint Entrance Exam (JEE)-Mains for admission to engineering colleges began on Tuesday amid stringent precautions and social distancing measures in view of COVID-19 pandemic.

Staggered entry and exit for candidates, sanitisers at the gate, distribution of masks and maintaining social distancing as candidates queued up, were among the scenes witnessed at the exam centres across the country.

The exam which has been postponed twice in view of COVID-19 pandemic is scheduled from September 1 to 6.

“Hand sanitisers are being made available at the entrance of the examination centre and inside the exam hall at all times. The usual process of checking the admit cards of candidates has been replaced with barcode readers, which have been made available to the examination centre authorities,” said an official of the National Testing Agency (NTA).

“While all the candidates are asked to go to the exam centres with masks and sanitisers, once they enter the centre, they have to use the masks provided by the examination authority. Each candidate will be offered a 3-ply mask at the time of entry and expected to wear the same during the examination in order to avoid any form of unfair means at the time of examination,” the official added.

The first shift of the exam began at 9.30 am while the second shift will begin from 2.30 pm.

“Before the start of each exam shift and after the last shift ends, all seats will be thoroughly sanitised and the work stations and keyboards will be disinfected,” the NTA official said.

Over 9 lakh candidates have registered for the JEE-Mains exam for admission to engineering courses in IITs, NITs and Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs).

Increasing the number of examination centres, alternate seating plans, fewer candidates per room and staggered entry and exit are among the steps the National Testing Agency has taken for safely conducting the crucial exam.

While the governments of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have assured students that they will provide transportation to candidates, a group of IIT alumni and students have also launched a portal to provide transport facilities to exam centres for the candidates in need.

There has been a growing chorus for postponing JEE-Mains and medical entrance exam NEET amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The Supreme Court had earlier dismissed a plea seeking postponement of the two exams amid a spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases, saying a “precious year” of students cannot be wasted and life has to go on.

Based on the results of the JEE-Mains Paper 1 and Paper 2, the top 2.45 lakh candidates will be eligible to appear for the JEE-Advanced exam, which is a one-stop exam to get admission into the 23 premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). JEE-Advanced is scheduled to take place on September 27.