Giving a major relief to medical and engineering aspirants, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar Saturday announced that JEE (Mains) and NEET examinations will be conducted twice a year.
While the JEE (Mains) will be held in January and April, NEET will be conducted in February and May, the minister said.
The latest development has come as a breather for many students grappling with the inadequate time to prepare for these exams, which were previously conducted once a year. Earlier, students used to appear for these exams just after their Class XII Board, forcing them to focus on their Boards and these exams simultaneously.
NET, a qualifying test for admission in higher educational institutions in the country, would be the first exam to be conducted by the newly formed body.
The NTA would also conduct National Eligibility cum Entrance Test Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) and Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test(GPAT), Javadekar said.
The students can appear both the times in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and the best of the two scores would be taken in account for admission, the minister said. NEET is conducted for admissions to medical institutions across the country.
“The exams will be more secure and at par with international norms. There will be no issues of leakage and it would be more student friendly, open, scientific and a leak-proof system,” Javadekar told reporters.
The NTA would benefit the students and they would have the option of going to computer centres from August-end to practice for the exams
The tests would be computer-based. The exams would be held over a span of four-five days and students would have the option of choosing the dates, he said.
The syllabus, question formats, language and fees for the exams would not be changed, he said.
The time table of the exams to be conducted by NTA would be uploaded on the ministry’s website.
The IITs would continue to conduct Joint Entrance Examination-Advanced exam, he said.
The Union Cabinet had approved setting up of NTA to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.
So far, The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducted NEET on behalf of the Medical Council Of India and the Health Ministry and NET on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
How the National Testing Agency (NTA) will function:
NTA will be established as a Society registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860.
The NTA would work as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.
It will be chaired by an educationist appointed by Human Resource Development Ministry
To serve the requirements of the rural students, NTA would locate the centres at sub-district/district level and as far as possible would undertake hands-on training exercise for the students.
The NTA will be given a one-time grant of Rs 250 million (Rs 25 crore) from the government to start its operation in the first year and thereafter, it will be financially self-sustainable
The nod for setting up NTA was given by the Union Cabinet and the budget for the same was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last year.
In November 2017 Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved setting up of ‘National Testing Agency (NTA)’ to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions and it was in the month of December last year when the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur was given the responsibility of setting up an agency and begin the hiring of subject experts. This agency which came to be known as the National Testing Agency as a part of Centre’s one-point agency for conducting all entrance examinations. It was then that the agency had said that the first tests would be conducted from December 2018, for the academic year of 2019.
In view of the need to have a specialised body in India like the most advanced countries, the finance minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget speech of 2017-18 had announced setting up of NTA to conduct all entrance examinations for higher educational institutions. The establishment of NTA, an autonomous organisation, will benefit about 4 million (40 lakh) students appearing in various entrance examinations