Education is one of the few sectors badly affected by COVID-19. In India, many examinations are affected by the COVID-19 induced lockdown. Here is a list of these major exams.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the education sector globally. According to UNESCO, which has been monitoring school closures due to COVID-19 across the globe since 16 February 2020, the number of enrolled learners affected by COVID-19 gradually increased and touched the peak on 02 April 2020 with over 159.8 crore learners across 194 countries. All of these were affected by lockdowns announced by various national governments. This number amounts to 91.3% of the total number of learners enrolled in various levels of education, ranging from pre-primary, primary, secondary, and tertiary. Tertiary educational level refers to degree, diploma, and certificate courses. Since then, the numbers have witnessed a slow decline. As on 18 May 2020, more than 121 crore students across 156 countries, amounting to 69.1% of the total number of students enrolled, stand affected due to country wide closures. In addition, there are lakhs of students affected by localized closures.
Of 32 crore students affected in India, more than 40% are those studying in classes 9 to 12
Even before lockdown was across the country, educational institutions were among the first few places to be shut when cases of COVID-19 began to surface in India. The UNESCO dashboard shows that more than 32 crore students in India have been affected so far, with over 13.3 crore students in the secondary educational level alone, those from class 9 to class 12. These are the students who face board examinations, and entrance examinations for higher studies.
In India, the lockdown was imposed at that time of the year when schools and colleges prepare for the end of academic year and with final/annual exams around the corner. Entrance exams for higher education are usually held during this time. But all these exams have been postponed owing to the lockdown.
Ministry of Human Resources and Development has announced that students of classes 1 to 8 will be promoted to the higher classes. For students of class 9 and 11, students would be promoted based on internal assessments. If the students have failed in the school exams, they have been given a chance to appear for re-exams which can be online, offline, or any innovative test.
Below is a list of various examinations affected by the lockdown and their current status.
What about Board Examinations?
For students of class 10 and 12, the pending board examinations have been scheduled between 1 to 15 July 2020. Exams will be conducted only in the major 29 subjects as recommended by MHRD. Students, parents, and schools have been strictly instructed to take the necessary precautionary measures while appearing for exams.
The dates for class 10 and 12 board exams under ICSE are yet to be announced. The pending exams will be held over a period of 6 to 8 days including weekends.
Different dates have been announced by respective state boards for conducting the board examinations, depending on the COVID-19 situation.
Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) Main, examination for getting into top engineering institutes in India like IITs and NITs, was proposed to be held in the last week of May after assessing the situation. The National Testing Authority (NTA) had clarified that a circular stating that JEE Main has been rescheduled to July first week is fake. This circular was widely circulated on social media.
Later, on 05 May 2020, MHRD announced that JEE Main Examinations will be held on 18, 20, 21, 22, and 23 July 2020.
JEE (Advanced), held for the top rank holders in JEE Main, which was scheduled to be held on 17 May stands postponed to 23 August 2020.
National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical and dental undergraduate courses, both in government and private colleges, which was postponed to last week of May 2020, has been re-scheduled to be held on 26 July 2020 as per MHRD’s announcement. Time for corrections in online application form has been extended 31 May.
All India AYUSH Post Graduation Entrance Test (AIAPGET) is the annual online examination held for admission to the post graduate courses such as MS, MD, or PG Diploma in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy. The exam was initially scheduled to be held in April. However, the exam stands postponed and new dates are yet to be announced.
The Consortium of National Law Universities holds centralized admission test, Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), to the 22 NLUs across India. The exam, which was supposed to be held in May, was earlier postponed to 21 June 2020. It has now been postponed to a new date. The new date of the examination will be announced on 01 July. The application deadline has also been extended to 01 July. The new date will be announced by 01 July giving students at least 21 days prior notice.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has notified that foundation course, intermediate course, and final course examinations under the old and new schemes, which are usually held in the month of May and June, have been scheduled to be held between 30 July and 16 August 2020.
The Institute of Company Secretaries of India announced that Company Secretary Executive Entrance Test (CSEET) scheduled to be held on 28 May has been postponed to 17 July 2020.
The National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA), held by the Council of Architecture for admission to undergraduate architecture courses has been postponed. The new date will be announced once the lockdown is over.
Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET) is the nationally held common entrance exam to various undergraduate and post graduate programs across 18 central universities set up under the Central Universities Act, 2009. The exam has now been postponed until further notice. The exam was originally scheduled to be held between 30 May and 06 June 2020. The last date for online application has been extended till 23 May.
National Council for Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Joint Entrance Examination (NCHM JEE) is a computer-based entrance examination for admission to B.Sc. course in Hospitality and Hotel Administration in India. The exam is conducted by NTA and was supposed to be held in April. However, it has been postponed until further notice. The online application forms are open for correction up to 22 May.
Other Important Examinations
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) announced through a press release earlier this month that Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2020, scheduled to be held on 31 May 2020 stands deferred. The Commission has further stated that fresh dates will be announced after reviewing the situation on 20 May. Personality test for remaining candidates for the Civil Services Examination, 2019 has also been postponed until further notice.
The fresh dates for the exams will be announced with a notice of at least 30 days so that the candidates get adequate time.
Staff Selection Commission (SSC)
The Staff Selection Commission has notified that the new dates for SSC CHSL Tier 1 2019, SSC JE Paper 1 2019, SSC Stenographer Grade C & D 2019, and other exams will be announced after reviewing the situation on 18 May 2020. The dates will be announced at least one month in advance.
Further, NTA has announced extension in dates for submitting online applications for Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) entrance examination, UGC National Eligibility Test, and Joint CSIR- National Eligibility Test.
Though this story focuses on only some of the major examinations held at the national level, there are numerous other examinations, both entrance and recruitment related, that have been affected due to the pandemic at the national and state levels. Many exams such as PSC, Bank Exams, engineering entrance etc. have been affected. Exams conducted by private educational institutions will form another long list.
Schools and colleges are now pushing for online assessments such as examinations and assignments. Even classes are being conducted online. In colleges, even placements have been significantly affected.
Featured Image: Education impact of COVID-19