India to hold national admission tests for medical and engineering colleges next week

Reuters
New Delhi, India Published: Aug 26, 2020, 03:11 PM(IST)

students Photograph:( Reuters )

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Already twice postponed this year, the tests will be spread over several days and held at more centres than usual, to ensure there is no crowding.

More than four million Indian students will sit for admission tests to medical and engineering colleges next week, the government said on Wednesday, amid growing concern that the move could fuel a jump in coronavirus infections.

India's novel coronavirus tally rose to 32.34 lakh on Wednesday with 67,151 more people testing positive for the infection, while the recoveries have surged to 24,67,758, the health ministry said.

Also read: COVID-19: India reports over 67,000 cases; death toll rises to 59,449

The Indian government is pushing for a return to normalcy to lessen the economic pain, after having imposed a strict early lockdown of India's 1.3 billion people in March.

"We are very mindful of the safety of our students, we will take full precautions," Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal told state radio, adding that the tests had to be held to ensure students did not lose a year.

Also read: 'Deeply unfair': Greta Thunberg tweets in favour of postponing JEE, NEET

Already twice postponed this year, the tests will be spread over several days and held at more centres than usual, to ensure there is no crowding.

But many students have to travel long distances and there was a risk of infections, said the All-India Students' Union, a leftist group that represents university students.

It urged students to wear black armbands and join online protests to put pressure on the government to delay the tests until infections fall.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thurnberg also waded into the dispute, urging a postponement.

"It’s deeply unfair that students of India are asked to sit national exams during the COVID-19 pandemic and while millions have also been impacted by the extreme floods," Thurnberg said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Parts of eastern India are also struggling with floods caused by annual monsoon rains.

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