New Delhi: We cannot force these students to come out and give these exams, actor Sonu Sood said, joining the chorus for deferring the NEET medical entrance exam and the JEE for admission to the IITs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"We have to support these students. 26 lakh students are going to appear in these exams," Mr. Sood told.
Sonu Sood, who has helped thousands of distressed migrants stranded across the country return home during the lockdown, said students and their parents must be given a window of around two to three months and that students can appear for the exams when they're mentally prepared.
"The maximum students are from Bihar where 13 to 14 districts are badly hit by the floods. How can you expect them to travel? They don't have money or places to stay. We cannot force these students to come out and give these exams," the actor said.
The two key exams - the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for admission to the Indian Institute of Technology and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical courses - are scheduled to be held next month. The two exams are among the toughest exams in the country.
Politicians across parties have backed the demand to postpone the exams, highlighting that the move was not only unsafe because of COVID-19, but also unjust due to floods in parts of some states such as Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, and Karnataka, among others.
"Give them a window of two months. We need to postpone the exams till November-December. Students can take the exams when they are mentally prepared," Sonu Sood said.
"I am also an engineer. I believe that it is very important for the country to have a new breed of these young people who are going to take over a lot of departments."
Defending the move to go ahead with the exams, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Tuesday said the exams were scheduled as a result of the "constant pressure from parents and students".
"We have been under constant pressure from parents and students, asking why we are not allowing JEE and NEET. The students were very worried. In their minds they were thinking for how long will they continue to study?" Mr. Pokhriyal told government broadcaster DD News.