With the JEE exams begins amid the heavy demands of postponement due to the coronavirus, the Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ last night wished students who are appearing for the exams.

In a video message, the minister said two crucial exams, the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical courses, are being held to ensure that students don’t lost an academic year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“JEE and NEET had to be postponed several times due to the coronavirus pandemic. JEE and NEET exams are being held to ensure that students don’t lost a year. I am happy that nearly all students have downloaded their admit cards and there is enthusiasm among students,” he said.

“I would like to extend my best wishes to you. Dear students, I am very happy that you have done your preparations. I am happy that over 7,77,465 students have downloaded their admit cards. I wish you good luck,” he said.

“I have spoken and appealed to the Chief Ministers of most states to help students in their states and I am sure that the SOPs issued by the Health, Education and Home Ministries will be followed,” he further added.

The Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE) will be conducted between September 1 and 6 for admissions to different engineering colleges, while the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) will be conducted on September 13.

There were many petitions filed in the Supreme Court seeking the postponement of the exams due to the spread of coronavirus but the court had rejected the petitions saying, “the careers of students can’t be put in jeopardy.”

Students had no choice but to appear for the exams keeping in mind the safety measures as till last evening at 6 pm, over 12.75 lakh students had downloaded admit cards for NEET while 7.78 lakh students had downloaded the JEE.

According to the agency which is conducting these two exams, the National Testing Agency (NTA), there were around 16 lakh applicants for the NEET exams while 8.58 lakh applicants for the JEE exams.

The NTA said it has increased the number of exam centres to enable social distancing and had allowed a significant percentage of students their first choice of cities.

READ: With mandatory face masks, staggered seating arrangements, JEE exams begin today

Opposition parties and many leaders had come out to raise their voices in support of the applicants demanding the postponement of the examinations.

Last week, six non-BJP ruled states approached the Supreme Court seeking a review of its order permitting the centre to allow the commencement of JEE and NEET examinations.

The six states which have approached the apex court regarding the postponement were West Bengal, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Punjab and Maharashtra. Each of the states is represented by a minister.