NTA goes international, opens JEE exam centres outside India

 Joint Entrance Exam centres are now being expanded to the district level in India and international level in cities like Washington DC, Moscow etc.

Overseas centres for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main, India’s most popular engineering entrance test, have come up for the first time in cities such as Washington DC, Moscow and Ottawa, with the National Testing Agency (NTA) having decided to venture beyond countries in Southeast and West Asia.

The NTA has also expanded JEE centres within India, bringing them to several remote areas in the country in coordination with local authorities like district magistrates and police, according to NTA director general Vineet Joshi.

Joshi said JEE centres have been set up for the first time in the United States, Canada, Russia, Indonesia and Mauritius. Overall, there are 19 overseas centres, in which 1,226 candidates registered to appear.

“This time, there are centres in Washington DC, Moscow, Ottawa, Jakarta and Port Louis. We never went beyond the Middle East and Southeast Asia before. Although very few candidates registered to take the exam in those centres, we decided to make the arrangements. This can be seen as a scaled-up outreach attempt,” Joshi said.

A break-up of the numbers shows that among the overseas centres, Dubai had the highest number of registered candidates (405), followed by Sharjah (150) and Muscat (133). Two candidates each registered in Jakarta and Ottawa, one each in Port Louis and Washington DC, and three in Moscow.

The NTA worked closely with Indian embassies in setting up the overseas centres, Joshi said.

“Keeping in view the interests of students from the Indian diaspora, it has been decided by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, to include Washington DC as an Exam City for holding JEE (Main) 2022 Examination,” a notice issued by the Indian embassy in the US read.

In 2021, a centre was set up in Nigeria following requests from students amid Covid-19 travel restrictions.

The scores of JEE (Main) are primarily used for admissions to undergraduate engineering programmes at National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and other centrally funded technical institutions as well as some state government-run technical institutions. It is also an eligibility test for JEE (Advanced), which is conducted for admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

While Session 1 of JEE (Main), held in June, saw an attendance of 88.21 per cent, the first four days of the week-long Session 2, which started on Monday (July 25), recorded 79 per cent attendance. At 91 per cent, Rajasthan registered the highest attendance, while the lowest was in Arunachal Pradesh, where 62 per cent of the registered candidates appeared. A total of 5.55 lakh candidates appeared for Session 2.

Joshi said holding Session 2 of the exam was challenging due to the Kanwar Yatra and floods in many parts of the country.

“There were requests to change some centres citing Kanwar Yatra, but we did not do it. Instead, we reached out to the district magistrates and made sure that the admit card for the exam is recognised as a valid journey pass. In flood-hit districts also, exams have been held smoothly so far with average attendance remaining around 86-87 per cent,” Joshi said.

Some places within the country where exam centres have been set up for the first time include Nalbari and Darang in Assam; Araria, Banka, Begusarai, Buxar, Motihari and Purnia in Bihar; Dahod in Gujarat; and Haveri and Chikkaballapur in Karnataka.