NTA considers closing its exam centre in Kashmir; stakeholders are alarmed
NTA considers closing its exam centre in Kashmir; stakeholders are alarmed

Sunday, September 26: In a surprising turn of events, the National Testing Agency (NTA), the authorised examination conducting authority for various competitive exams in India, is contemplating closing its examination centre in the Hayatpora neighbourhood of the Budgam district in Kashmir.

This decision comes just a few short months after the NTA established the centre, which is furnished with approximately 600 computers, to facilitate a large number of students taking multiple national-level examinations at the same time.


An official stated that the information came to light after the director of the Budgam centre informed the Budgam centre’s employees that the NTA’s headquarters was considering closing the centre.

The transfer has left the employees in a state of uncertainty, as they are apprehensive of their next steps.

“The senior official in charge of the Budgam centre informed the employees that NTA has ordered the centre’s closure. Uncertain of what to do next, we are currently in a predicament,” said an unidentified official.

The Budgam examination centre was established in response to public outcry over the allocation of examination centres outside of Jammu and Kashmir to Kashmir Valley pupils.

Recent controversy has surrounded the allocation of Common University Entrance Test (CUET) examination centres for Kashmiri pupils residing outside Jammu and Kashmir.

The examination centres were ultimately relocated to the Valley due to students’ and parents’ vehement objections.

The official in charge of the NTA centre in Budgam elaborated on the role of the centre during the CUET exam by stating that after relocating the examination centre for students to the Valley, approximately 13,000 students from various parts of Kashmir took the CUET exam.

“Furthermore, we effectively administered the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) exam to approximately 1,200 candidates from the Valley.” Candidates from Poonch, Shopian Banihal, and other regions took their examinations at this centre,” he explained.

In 2024, local pupils will have the opportunity to participate in prestigious national-level competitive examinations such as the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET).

“However, following a recent internal communication from NTA headquarters, the future of the centre is uncertain,” the official said.

He stated that they are in the process of closing down the facility and relocating the installed computers to an as-yet-unknown location.

Since May, the centre has been completely operational out of a privately rented building. The rent had been settled, and preparations for impending exams were ongoing. “However, the sudden communication from NTA headquarters has left everyone bewildered and discouraged,” the official said.

Amid the NTA plans to close the Budgam institutions, the potential consequences for students, particularly those preparing for impending national-level competitive examinations, remain a cause for concern.

In the meantime, stakeholders have voiced concern over the NTA’s decision to close the centre, noting that the move will cause a crisis during the 2024 examinations.

G. N. Var, president of the Private School Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK), informed Greater Kashmir that this was a concerning development for the future of Kashmiri pupils.

“Everyone was of the opinion that the government has learned its lesson and will now establish permanent centres in Kashmir. In contrast, even transitory centres are being eliminated, causing anxiety among pupils and their guardians, as stated by G.N. Var.

The Association implored Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, to take note of the situation and prevent the relocation of NTA centres from Kashmir.

Var stated, “We implore the Lt. Governor to issue directives for the establishment of permanent examination centres in Kashmir in order to spare students further distress.”



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