THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 29 August 2020 Testing times(Indian Express)

Testing times(Indian Express)

Mains Paper 2: Governance 
Prelims level: Not much 
Mains level: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education


  • The Joint Entrance Examination to the IITs and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Tests for medical institutes are slated for September.


  • Both the tests have been postponed twice — the JEE was originally scheduled in April, then deferred to July; the NEET slated for May was also pushed to July.
  • With the COVID pandemic showing no sign of letting up, they were rescheduled again. Now, there is a chorus of opposition to holding these examinations next month.
  • On Wednesday, chief ministers of seven states threatened to move the Supreme Court to seek the deferment of NEET-JEE — this, after the Court had made it clear last week that it is against putting off these examinations any further.
  • So far, the government has been unequivocalabout the September schedule — it should not buckle down.

Key challenges:

  • The virus does introduce several challenges to the task of holding examinations.
  • But given that the COVID curve continues its upward climb, at different rates in different states, there is no evidence that delaying the exams — by weeks or months — will reduce the risk.
  • To ensure trust and a level playing field across income groups, an online examination is challenging to administer.
  • Given the numbers who take these tests, losing an entire year in these colleges isn’t an option. This would have a cascading effect on the next year.
  • In short, the test is an unavoidable and that needs to be done following the science.
  • Today, a lot more is known about the virus than what was known in April — what precautions are needed, from masks to distancing for a test that will take three hours of a student at a desk.
  • The epidemiological understanding is virtually mainstream now and has informed the lifting of restrictions on a range of activities.

Passport to dreams:

  • This is also the thinking behind the Election Commission’s stated intention to hold the Bihar assembly elections; the Delhi government calling for resuming the Metro services; airlines planning to expand services.
  • Everywhere, the discourse is how to open up while minimising the risk.
  • That logic should drive these examinations as well.
  • As this newspaper has reported, an average of Rs 150 is being spent per candidate to ensure COVID hygiene at the 660 centres across the country.
  • But care should also be taken to ensure that holding the test now does not diminish the representative character of these institutes — socially, regionally and with respect to gender.
  • The governments must ensure that the candidates can travel safely, and, in time, to the examination centres.
  • For lakhs of young women and men, these tests are a passport to their hopes and aspirations.


Prelims Questions:

Q.1)With reference to Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) 160, consider the following statements:

1. Under this, Government has proposed stricter norms for construction machinery to ensure greater safety on highways.
2. It includes features like machine-mounted audible travel alarms, requirements for operator station and maintenance areas, non-metallic fuel tank and wider operator visibility for construction equipment machinery.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C