Students whose plans to study abroad have been affected due to COVID-19 will get a fresh chance to apply for the JEE-Main, the entrance exam for engineering colleges, the HRD minister announced on Tuesday (May 19).
“In view of the representations received from various Indian students, who were scheduled to join colleges abroad but are now keen to pursue their studies in India due to the changed circumstances arising out of COVID-19, the National Testing Agency (NTA) has decided to give an opportunity,” Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” said.
The application window for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE-Main), which opened on Tuesday, will have to be completed by May 24. “Students who were not able to complete their application forms due to other reasons can also make use of this opportunity,” NTA Director Vineet Joshi said. The exam, which was earlier scheduled in April and was postponed due to lockdown restrictions, will be held across the country from July 18-23.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the decision of over 48 per cent Indian students who wanted to study abroad, according to a report by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which comes out with global rankings for educational institutions. The significantly lower return on investment in an already expensive international higher education domain and the further reduced chances of employability in the post COVID-19 world have a key role to play in this shift, experts at QS have pointed out.
The novel coronavirus has claimed over three lakh lives with more than 48 lakh people infected across the globe. The deadly virus has brought several countries to a standstill with many imposing international travel restrictions, delaying or disrupting the study-abroad plans of students.
Meanwhile, the HRD minister launched an artificial intelligence-powered mobile application called the “National Test Abhyas” for mock tests for the JEE-Main and medical entrance exam NEET. “The app has been developed by the NTA to enable the candidates to take mock tests for upcoming exams such as the JEE-Main, NEET under the NTAs purview. It has been launched to facilitate the candidates access to high-quality mock tests from the safety and comfort of their homes since there was a demand for making up the loss to students due to the closure of educational institutions and NTAs test-practice centres (TPCs) because of the continuing lockdown,” a senior official in the HRD ministry said.
“With this facility for students, India has taken the lead in restoring a semblance of normalcy in one more crucial area, test preparations, even as we tackle these unprecedented times that have led to significant changes around the world,” he added.