After the cancellation of CBSE Class 12 board examinations, voices against offline examinations have further gathered momentum amid fuelling challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Several medical students, who undauntedly continue to serve the nation in the hour of crisis, took to Twitter, using #PostponeINICET, to raise their concerns as soon as they were notified of their June 16 INI CET exam.
The Institutes of National Importance Combined Entrance Test (INI CET), conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), provides admission into the post-graduate courses such as Masters of Surgery (MS), Doctor of Medicine (MD), Master of Dental Surgery (MSDS), Doctorate of Medicine (DM), and Master of Chirurgie (MCh). These are offered by eight AIIMS including Delhi, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Rishikesh, Raipur, Jodhpur, and NIMHANS Bengaluru, JIPMER Puducherry and PGI Chandigarh.
According to a notification released on May 27, INI CET exam will be held on June 16 (Wednesday). Earlier, the exam was scheduled to take place on May 8, however, it was postponed due to the pandemic.
Now, what's the brouhaha exactly about?
Since the May 8 examination was postponed, students argue that the situation is still not conducive to physically appear in any exam. So what makes them reschedule the exam for June 16, a student asks.
Many of these INI CET candidates are serving in Covid wards, all unfazed! Performing their duties as COVID warriors, these medical students fear that the exam could turn into a "super-spreader" event if it goes as planned.
"Many of us have joined Covid duties. Now suddenly, the all-important INICET examination for AIIMS and other institutes of national importance have been announced with just a few days in hand. We are doubly stressed. As we have to perform our duties, there is hardly any energy left to prepare for the exam. Also, many of us may be having latent infections and if the examination is held, it can be a super spreader event," Monojit Mukherjee, a working doctor and a post-graduate medical aspirant told India TV.
"It's unfair to us! I'm a doctor working in a Covid hospital after the govt gave us assurance of not conducting any exam before 31st August. But now suddenly they have scheduled INI CET exam and we have to study 19 subjects along with Covid duties" an aspirant wrote.
Another aspirant, Dr. SK urged for postponement of the INI CET exam by at least 2-3 weeks. "We should have been informed on time and atleast 1 month before so that we could have prepared for the exam. Many of us joined covid duties to serve the nation during 2nd wave on assurance of GOI for no exams in near future and we have been bonded for a period of 3 months. We need to inform well in advance (1 month before) in case we are planning to leave the duty," he said in apprehension.
"Many students have migrated during this period and the option to change the Centre has not been provided to them. We request that after postponement, the authorities must consider this point too and make adequate arrangements. There are many doctors who are already Covid positive and this might lead to a super spreader event. We need to wait for the second wave to go away. With more than 1.5 lacs cases daily, exams should be considered to be conducted in july," he further added.
The National Students' Union of India (NSUI) has been strongly backing these doctors, highlighting the need to postpone the medical examination. "We can't even imagine our doctors are dealing with another level of stress & anxiety during this pandemic. Doctors are sleepless & tired and this is not the ideal atmosphere to put more pressure on them. How they will prepare for this exam in this short period of time," Neeraj Kundan, the national president asked.
"NSUI demands postponement of INICET and govt should inform at least one month before, as they promised. Doctors are our front line warriors & we are strongly standing with them," he said in a conversation with India TV.