Assam: JEE Main attendance rises to 70% despite pandemic

GUWAHATI: After registering less than 50% attendance on the first day of the JEE (Main) exam due to the threat of coronavirus infection, there has been a considerable improvement in the turnout in the last two days.

Sources in the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts the coveted engineering entrance test, said, “On an average, the attendance in the JEE (Main) yesterday was around 70%. Today, it was even better and an estimated 70-75% of the registered candidates appeared in the test in Assam,” an NTA official told TOI on Thursday.

With the number of candidates registered to appear for B Arch. and B Planning on Tuesday being comparatively much lower than that of BTech/BE aspirants, who have started taking the test from Wednesday, NTA officials said the popularity of BTech/BE courses has been reflected once again.

However, there have been many instances where the registered candidates did not appear in the entrance exam so that they can stay healthy till the last when the all-India medical entrance NEET (UG) is scheduled (September 13). Although JEE is regarded as one of the toughest exams, many students give priority to NEET (UG) to pursue a medical career.

“I decided not to appear in JEE (Main) on Thursday because of the Covid-19 threat. I want to stay fit and free from the virus till the NEET (UG) exam,” said Shruti Kar, who was about to appear for JEE (Main) in Guwahati. She was scheduled to appear in the test in the morning shift on Thursday.

“It’s uncomfortable to appear in such an important test with a mask and gloves. Still, I have resolved to appear in NEET (UG) as pursuing a medical career is my dream,” she added.

Though the students have not confronted problems in the exam centres, some of them, who had to hire rented vehicles to appear in the test, alleged that the government should have done something for their travel and accommodation. “For the students of middle-income families and those coming from poor financial background, the state government should have made some arrangements for free transport and accommodation. For JEE (Main), there are only six centres and thus many students have to travel miles to reach their exam centres,” said one of the candidates in Jorhat centre.

Many students had to return home after appearing in the test as they were neither willing to stay in paid accommodations nor their relatives were interested to keep them in their homes due to the pandemic.

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