Climate activist Greta Thunberg on Tuesday said that she is supporting the call of students to postpone the NEET JEE examinations in India. In her Facebook account, the youth icon wrote: “It’s deeply unfair that students of India are asked to sit national exams during the COVID-19 pandemic and while millions have also been impacted by the extreme floods. I stand with their call to #PostponeJEE_NEETinCOVID”. The same message was also posted on her official Twitter account, that has over four million followers.
There has been a nation-wide demand for postponement of the examinations with the hashtag “MODIJI_POSTPONEJEENEET” trending on social media. The NEET JEE exams were cancelled in May when lockdown was imposed and are now scheduled in the first half of September. The Supreme Court has dismissed petitions for postponement saying “life cannot be stopped”.
Many people across the country have been opposed to the entrance examinations for IIT and medical colleges as hundreds have been hit by floods in parts of Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Karanataka, among other states.
Several politicians have also opposed the Centre’s decision, including West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. On Monday, she took to Twitter to write: “I would again appeal to the Centre to assess the risk and postpone these examinations until the situation is conducive again. It is our duty to ensure a safe environment for all our students.”
DMK chief MK Stalin, in a letter to the Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, wrote: “Students and parents are under enormous mental stress. Considering the current restrictions on public transportation, the allotted exam centres are not uniformly accessible to all aspirants”.
Thunberg has just returned to school after a “gap year” and she has been posting her pictures on social media about the return to school. Her post on the JEE NEET has however received some backlash from some people, who have advised her to not “interfere” into matters relating to India. A Facebook user said that it is a matter concerning the government of India and Indians. Thunberg however, got a lot of support too, for her concern.