Karnataka govt says CET is on. All eyes now on High court

The Karnataka government is expected to reiterate its decision before the High court to conduct the Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission to government professional degree colleges on 30 and 31 July. On Tuesday, the Karnataka High court asked the government to reconsider its decision in view of the large number of containment zones which may prevent candidates from appearing for the exam. 

Late on Tuesday evening, the Deputy chief minister Dr Ashwath Narayan convened a meeting with his officials and the view was that the Karnataka Examinations Authority was in a position to conduct the exams safely. The confidence largely stems from the fact that the Class X SSLC exams were conducted between 25 June and 3 July and therefore CET with much lesser numbers should not pose a problem. What is ignored however, is that the number of Covid19 cases is much more now – over 5000 everyday in Karnataka. 

Three petitions have been filed in the High court, pleading for either postponement or cancellation of the CET. The court has asked the government to inform it about its decision at 2:30 pm.

Dr EV Ramana Reddy, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt of Karnataka and the IAS officer heads the Higher Education Department told Filter Kaapi that “we are proceeding with the CET unless the judiciary orders us otherwise. Precautions and SOPs will be put in place. We are capable of conducting the exam safely.”

Dr Reddy pointed out that the SOPs are not devised by the Education deptt but by the Health deptt and they will be followed. These include a dedicated centre in every district of Karnataka and two in Bengaluru where Covid 19 positive asymptomatic candidates can come and write the exam. The two centres in Bengaluru are GKVK in Bengaluru South in GKVK and Gnana Bharathi in Bengaluru North.

Till Sunday, 17 covid-19 positive candidates had registered themselves with the Karnataka Exam Authority. These specific exam centres will be invigilated by doctors and nurses instead of regular invigilators from the Education deptt.

With reference to containment zones, a concern the court highlighted, the government has ordered that while there can be no exam centre inside a containment zone, if you are a student residing in a containment zone, you will be permitted to step out to write the exam. This is strange because the government otherwise frowns on anyone violating the containment zone stipulations. Also there is concern over whether students residing in containment zones will have to take their exams at a regular centre or along with those infected by Covid-19.

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