In what might be a welcome move for lakhs of medical and engineering aspirants in India, the government is mulling to conduct the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission into medical courses and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Mains for admission into engineering colleges twice a year. Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development (HRD) Upendra Kushwaha informed the Lok Sabha last year that NEET and JEE (Mains) might be conducted twice a year. "The exams will be conducted online at least twice a year, thereby giving an adequate opportunity to the candidates to bring out their best," Kushwaha had said.
In this regard, it is expected that the National Testing Agency (NTA)—an independent body dedicated to conducting entrance tests for higher education—is likely to conduct NEET and JEE (Mains) exams again this year in December 2018. NEET 2018 was conducted on May 6, while JEE (Mains) was conducted between April 8 and April 16 this year.
Currently, the two popular entrance exams were held only one a year. The move is likely to benefit the students who have to rush through their preparations during April-May after appearing for board examinations in March-April. Most importantly, it will give them an additional opportunity for the students to appear for the exams without wasting a whole year.
The NTA, approved by the Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2017, would work as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions. To begin with, it will conduct entrance examinations which are currently being conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
It is expected that with the entry of the NTA, the entrance examinations, especially NEET will become more poised to favour students from across the board. Currently, one of the main criticism is that the NEET exam curriculum favours only CBSE students, in grave disadvantage for students from other boards.