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NEET and JEE row: Could remote proctoring be a solution?

Home » NEET and JEE row: Could remote proctoring be a solution?

NEET and JEE row: Could remote proctoring be a solution?

Date: 31/08/2020 | Posted by: MeritTrac | Category: General

As the dates for the JEE Main and NEET exams are approaching, protest against these entrance tests are intensifying across India. While the central government supports the conducting of exams, the opposition parties are supporting the students demand to cancel exams in this pandemic. About six states have approached the Supreme Court and have appealed for a review on the apex court order to conduct these high stake entrance exams.

Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE) for engineering aspirants, usually conducted in April was postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak and was scheduled to be held between September 1 and 6. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduate medical course aspirants was also deferred from earlier dates and is set to happen on September 13. Over 8.58 lakh students have registered for JEE and 15.97 lakh students have registered for NEET this year.

Parents and students are worried about their health safety during the pandemic as the number of daily positive cases have touched above 70,000 in India these days. Those opposing the exams claim that while national and international health bodies are advising people to strictly follow social distancing as an effective solution to contain the virus spreading, conducting high-stake exams with millions of students will be disastrous.

Apart from COVID-19 threat, non-availability of public transportation, flood and rain catastrophes in some states are also a major concern for students.

Though the issue has turned a political battle between ruling and opposition parties, over 7.5 lakh students have already downloaded the admit card for JEE and 1.06 million students have downloaded the NEET admit card. The education ministry considers this as the willingness of the students to take the exam.

Despite growing protests, the Union education ministry stands by its decision to conduct tests. Reiterating government’s stand, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, education minister, said the decision has been taken holistically “keeping the career of students in mind”. The ministry said zero-year is not in the interest of students.

National Testing Agency (NTA) is preparing to hold both these exams. In a press release, NTA said that they conduct entrance exams to avoid losing an academic year. The agency has increased the number of examination centres for the JEE from 570 to 660 and for NEET from 2,546 to 3,843, made admit cards available online and also said that precautionary measures such as providing sanitizer at the entry and exit points of centres will be taken, and social distancing will be practised while giving the exam.

JEE Main is Computer Based Test (CBT) and NEET is pen and paper-based test. Additionally, in case of JEE (Main), the number of shifts has been increased from the earlier 8 to 12, and the number of candidates per shift has been reduced from earlier 1.32 lakh to 85,000 now.

Many supported NTA on this issue including Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) M Jagadesh Kumar. He said that the National Testing Agency (NTA) has increased the number of examination centres and has also come up with protocols to keep students safe.

Remote proctored online examination as a solution

At the same time, NTA is conducting at least six online examinations over the next month including UGC NET, Delhi University Entrance Test (DUET) to name a few. All these are computer-based tests and will be conducted in a phased manner. NTA is successfully administering exams digitally. The question that arises is can the coveted JEE and NEET can be transformed into a remote proctored online exam?

Remotely proctored examinations are thriving in the world and India during the COVID crisis. Many institutions have already explored online/digital mode of exams, especially after the UGC guidelines. The remote proctored online examination solutions being offered these days can conduct mass-scale examinations with high security. Students from remote areas can also take these exams without facing any hassles of transportation.

Moreover, the remote proctoring solution used these days ensures a fraud-free online exam environment. With remote proctoring, the examination authorities can monitor the students during the test and flag any unethical behaviour. Live online video proctoring, recorded proctoring, automated proctoring and blended proctoring (live video + automated) with safe exam browser are available now.

MeritTrac as a solution provider

MeritTrac, one of premier assessment and testing companies in India, is a pioneer in handling high-stake examinations with great precisions. Since the lockdown in March, the company conducted over five lakh candidate assessments with its online examination software bundled with remote proctoring.

In the early weeks of August 2020, MeritTrac assisted Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) to successfully conduct their remotely proctored entrance tests, which was attended by over two lakhs students. We have supported several institutions such as Manipal University of Jaipur, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeeth, Azim Premji University, IPE, IIM-Ahmedabad and many others to conduct their remotely proctored online examinations.

As the heated debate over JEE and NEET exams goes on across the country, maybe options such as remote proctored online examinations can be explored, wherein a student can take the exams from the comfort of his/her home provided with high-speed connectivity and other infrastructure. All security measures can be followed to ensure no student is engaging in any unethical practices.

MeritTrac is committed to ensuring pan India students are enabled to take exams from their homes during this pandemic and is looking forward to extending support to all national testing agencies and educational institutions interested in conducting remote proctored exams going forward.