Two nation-wide examinations – which decide the college admission for aspiring engineering students and medical students – have been a topic of controversy for the past few days. The Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE) and National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) have been confirmed on September 1 -6 and September 13 respectively, despite the social distancing norms which are being practised to prevent the Coronavirus pandemic from further spreading.
The pandemic has crossed more than two million cases in India already, and experts have stated that millions of students assembling across the country for the examinations will result in further increase in the number of cases. State leaders from West Bengal, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, and Maharashtra have appealed to the Supreme Court to postpone the exams.
Among the many voices protesting the decision and asking for postponement of the examinations is Licypriya Kangujam, the eight-year-old climate change activist from Manipur.
This is the same judge👨⚖️of Supreme Court who ruled against the millions of students to appear exams in COVID.
Justice Arun Mishra has turned down his own farewell function due to covid pandemic & he asked students to go and appear exams in peak COVID19 pandemic.
GAME OVER. pic.twitter.com/mNb0f2uGwn
— Licypriya Kangujam (@LicypriyaK) August 30, 2020
Over the last week, Licypriya has been tweeting constantly about the issue, and asking for support from experts political leaders including the chief ministers of the six States approaching the Supreme Court. She has also requested the chief ministers of Puducherry, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Delhi, to appeal for the students’ safety.
Also see, Licypriya’s interview with MAKERS India: Meet Licypriya Kangujam, the 8-year-old Climate Activist Who is Fighting for Her Future
Additionally, Licypriya has also tweeted her plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister of Education Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, BJP member and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy, and Indian National Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, among other political leaders.
Joining hands with her are Greta Thunberg, Sophia Mathur, and Elizabeth Wathuti, teenage climate change activists from Sweden, Canada, and Kenya respectively.
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
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) August 25, 2020
The Indian government must listen to the science and keep youth safe. There is still hope for these kids! Don’t stop fighting! I say this as an Indo Canadian with relatives in India. #SpeakUpForStudentSafety#PostponeNEETJEE_Today#COVID19 @LicypriyaK @FFFIndia https://t.co/dmnmCd6hJA
— Sophia Mathur (@sophiamathur) August 30, 2020
There is always hope until the very last second. Even though things won't turn out as we expect, please hang in there and stay strong. You will not have failed or lost. You all did your very best.♥️Those who had power to #postponeneetandjeee will have failed us all. @LicypriyaK
— Elizabeth Wathuti 🇰🇪 (@lizwathuti) August 30, 2020
Although the United Nations Organisation usually does not interfere in domestic issues of its member countries, Licypriya has even appealed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Deputy Secretary General Amina J Mohammed, and UN Human Rights head Michelle Bechelet, to stand with the students.