The West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination (WBJEE) board has decided to advance the WBJEE 2020 by 10 weeks. The 2020 WBJEE exam, which was earlier scheduled to be held on April 19 next year, will now likely to be conducted on February 2, 2020. WBJEE board chairman confirmed the plan to The Times of India and said the proposal had been forwarded to state education minister Partha Chatterjee for approval.
If approved, the next year will probably be the first time that the WBJEE will held before board examinations. Traditionally, the board has been holding the engineering entrance examination in April - the time by most Class-XI board examinantions are over.
The decision was taken to increase enrolment of students in engineering colleges across the state. Like in most states in India, a large number of engineering seats are finding no takers in West Bengal. Though the dip is largely due to declining job opportunities, some believe, the reason behind engineering seats remaining vacant in West Bengal is that most southern states conduct their joint engineering entrance examinations before WBJEE.
According to the TOI report, there may also have been "indirect pressure" from private engineering colleges on the board, leading to the decision. The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has asked engineering colleges to shut down the courses, in which more than 80 per cent seats are vacant.
The decision may lead to added pressure on students as the new timing of WBJEE may leave them with very little time to prepare for board exams.