Panic After CUET Aspirants Allotted Test Centres Over 200 Km Away From Home

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Thousands of aspirants of the CUET-UG have become an aggrieved lot as they have been allotted examination centres hundreds of kilometres away from their hometown in spite of opting for a centre close to it.Social media is also flooded with posts from worried students on the issue.PTI spoke to several of these students who said that despite flagging the issue to the National Testing Agency (NTA) through email, they have so far received no response. NTA is tasked with conducting the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) – UG, which is scheduled to begin this Sunday.”I chose Dumka (Jharkhand) and Deoghar (Jharkhand) exam centres as my preference in the CUET application form but I got Bhubaneshwar (Khordha) as the centre for my examination on May 26. Several of my friends are facing the same issue,” said a 17-year-old Riya, a Delhi University aspirant. This has caused panic in her family, she said.Students from relatively poor background in Jammu and Kashmir are among those worst affected.”I am from Kashmir. My examination centre is in Chandigarh, almost 500 km away from here. I live in a remote area. Please explain this genius process!” said an angry Sheikh Daniyal.”I am from Shopian, Kashmir, and my allotted city is Bathinda, Punjab, approximately 227 km from here. I did not opt for this when I applied for the exam online,” Faisal Rashid, 17, said.”It is unfair to place this additional burden on students who are already facing so many challenges in their pursuit of higher education. Students deserve equal opportunities to compete in the entrance test and access to education regardless of their financial circumstances,” Rashid added.The J&K Students Association has also written to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to intervene in the matter and ensure that the CUET exam centres are allotted within the Union Territory.In a statement, the association’s national convenor, Nasir Khuehami, said the decision by the NTA to allocate exam centres outside of Jammu and Kashmir has left hundreds of students in a state of despair.It has had a particularly harsh impact on students from financially struggling households who are already anxious about the highly competitive entrance test, Khuehami said.It is difficult for them to afford the expenses of travelling outside, he added.The second edition of the CUET-UG is scheduled to be held during May 21-31.Nearly 14 lakh applications have been received for the entrance this year, registering a 41 per cent increase from last year when it was held for the first time.In the first edition of CUET-UG, 12.50 lakh students had registered and 9.9 lakh of them submitted applications. The CUET-UG remains the second-largest entrance exam in the country in terms of number of applicants after NEET-UG.