Mumbai: The State Common Entrance Test (CET) Cell has introduced a number of measures to ensure health safety of over 5 lakh students taking the upcoming MHT-CET 2020 exam during COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cell has replaced the manual verification system with a barcode and webcam-based verification to minimise physical interaction between students and invigilators. The entry time for candidates has been staggered to avoid crowding at the centres, which will be filled only half of their capacity. The number of centres has been increased from the last year’s 166 to 190, while the exam is being held over 18 days – six more than MHT-CET 2019 to allow for social distancing.
“Before entering the exam venue, the candidates’ admit cards will be scanned. They will be photographed with a webcam and their picture matched with their photo ID. The candidates will be monitored through surveillance cameras during exams. The invigilators won’t go near them to avoid any potential Coronavirus infection,” a CET Cell official told MahaScholar.com.
According to the official, around 50 candidates will be allowed to enter the exam venue in a particular time-slot. The Cell will message the entry time to students on their registered mobile number a day before the exam.
Taken after class 12, MHT-CET is used for screening aspirants for various undergraduate engineering, pharmacy and agriculture courses in the state. It’s the biggest entrance exam of the state, with as many as 5,32,361 candidates registering for it this year.
The aspirants are also required to ‘mandatorily’ install Aarogya Setu application on their mobile phones. If a candidate does not have a smartphone, he will have to submit a self-declaration form, proclaiming they have been tested negative for COVID-19 and don’t have any symptoms of the infectious disease. The form has been made available along with admit cards for the test. Candidates showing COVID-19 symptoms will be barred from the exam venue.
Among other measures, the Cell has also done away with the practice of displaying the seating arrangement at notice boards outside the centres. They candidates will be individually conveyed their place of seating. registered mobile phone one day prior to the exam. The Cell has also asked candidates to bring their own masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and transparent water bottles.
The test was initially scheduled to be held in April but was postponed to July and August due to Covid-19 pandemic. The dates were revised once again according to the directions of the state government.
The CET Cell faced trouble booking some of the venues which are serving as centres for Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) preliminary exams on October 4. “The district collectors insisted that the venues should be used for only one exam. They eventually permitted to conduct MHT-CET at the same venues, after we made them realise that they have large campuses with multiple entry gates,” said the official.