The National Testing Agency told the Supreme Court that it is not possible to have examination centers abroad for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) Undergraduate (UG) 2020 as the exam is conducted in paper book format. The National Testing Agency (NTA) said in an affidavit on 11 August that the examination cannot be conducted in cities abroad, as NEET (UG) has to be conducted in the same shift on the same day to maintain uniformity.
The affidavit stated, “Further, question papers and other examination materials are to be transported from NTA headquarters to a large number of examination centers in various cities, which will require careful planning for safe and secure delivery of the same to the examination centers on time.”
The NTA duly consulted the Medical Council of India (MCI) about the students’ demand for foreign examination centers. However, MCI has clarified that since the examination is conducted through multiple-choice questions in paper book format given to all the candidates and maintains uniformity for all the candidates, therefore, NEET (UG) examination should not be conducted in online mode.
The exam is scheduled to be held on September 13, 2020. The NTA’s affidavit was filed on a petition directing the NEET centers to be placed in the Gulf countries. The petition filed by the parents of about 4,000 NEET (undergraduate) candidates has sought to postpone the examination until the Covid-19 epidemic is back to normal.
The parents of these candidates living in Doha, Qatar, Oman, and UAE have approached the apex court challenging the June 30 order of the Kerala High Court which rejected their petition.
In his appeal against the order of the Kerala High Court, the General Secretary of the Kerala Muslim Culture Center in Qatar, Abdul Aziz said that the NTA had the ability and willingness to open examination centers in the Gulf countries as they were doing so for the joint entrance examination.
The petition states that the NTA has said that it will open examination centers abroad if the MCI approves the proposal. The MCI had said on May 21 that online examination for NEET was not possible, the apex court said. The petition states, “During these extraordinary circumstances, the MCI and the central government should be flexible so that these students can get the facility to sit for NEET.”