NEET’s not a clean af­fair for aspir­ing med­i­cal stu­dents

GO­ING FOR­WARD Phase two of the Na­tional El­i­gi­bil­ity cum En­trance Test (NEET) is to be held in July, but can­di­dates con­tinue to strug­gle with doubts

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Gauri Kohli

Will the Na­tional El­i­gi­bil­ity cum En­trance Test (NEET) that has finally been made part of the med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem elim­i­nate the need for al­most 90 en­trance tests for over 300 col­leges? Its im­ple­men­ta­tion from 2016 has raised sev­eral per­ti­nent ques­tions that need an ur­gent re­sponse.

A Supreme Cour t or­der has said there will be just one en­trance test for ad­mis­sion to MBBS and den­tal cour­ses, which is NEET. A few in­sti­tu­tions, how­ever, will be ex­empted from NEET and that means stu­dents will have to ap­pear for sep­a­rate en­trance tests for ad­mis­sion to th­ese in­sti­tu­tions. Th­ese in­clude the All In­dia In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sciences a n d Jaw a h a rl a l I n s t i t u t e o f Po s t g r a d u a t e M e d i c a l E d u c a t i o n a n d Re s e a r c h ( JIPMER) which are au­ton­o­mous colle ges. “AIIMS will con­duct its en­trance test for ad­mis­sion to the MBBS course on May 29, 2016,” says an of­fi­cial from the ex­am­i­na­tion de­part­ment of AIIMS. The ques­tion here is that if NEET has been in­tro­duced with the idea of a sin­gle com­mon en­trance test for ad­mis­sion to the MBBS pro­gramme, will it serve the pur­pose it in­tends to?

Dr Arun Agar­wal, for­mer pres­i­dent, Delhi Med­i­cal Coun­cil, says, “NEET should in­clude all in­sti­tu­tions in­cludi ng AIIMS and AIIMS- l i ke in­sti­tu­tions. Util­ity of NEET is un­ques­tion­able it is the only so­lu­tion in prov­ing the qual­ity and aca­demic stan­dards of young­sters join­ing med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions.” Ad­mis­sion to the un­der­grad­u­ate med­i­cal pro­grammes at other col­leges such as Chris­tian Med­i­cal Col­lege and Hospi­tal (CMCH), Vel­lore, Kas­turba Med­i­cal Colle ge ( Ma­ni­pal and Man­ga­lore), Armed Forces Med­i­cal Col­lege ( AFMC) Pune and St John’s Med­i­cal Col­lege (Ban­ga­lore) will be through NEET. Ac­cord­ing to Dr Jayshree Me­hta, pres­i­dent, Med­i­cal Coun­cil of In­dia (MCI), “Med­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions cre­ated un­der the Cen­tral en­act­ment by the gov­ern­ment of In­dia and all other in­sti­tu­tions would be within the am­bit of NEET.”

A large num­ber of stu­dents who will be ap­pear­ing for NEET phase two in July are also wor­ried about the pa­per pat­tern. Clar­i­fy­ing the mat­ter, Dr Me­hta says, “There will not be any dif­fer­ence be­tween the pa­per pat­tern of AIPMT and NEET. The CBSE has been set­ting the pa­per for AIPMT so far and will be do­ing the same for NEET as well.”

An­other ques­tion that arises is whether cer­tain states should be al­lowed to con­duct their own en­trance tests as was the case ear­lier. States such as Jammu and Kash­mir, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are still re­sist­ing NEET. Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kash­mir were ex­empted from the first edi­tion of NEET in 2013 as they were ex­cluded from the purview of the Supreme Court judg­ments ear­lier. Clar­i­fy­ing this, Dr Me­hta says, “As of now, no state in­clud­ing Andhra Pradesh, Te­lan­gana and J&K are ex­empted from NEET as per the Supreme court or­der.”

The Maharashtra gov­ern­ment has de­cided to ap­proach the Pres­i­dent on the mat­ter and has also filed a re­view pe­ti­tion in the apex court. The state gov­ern­ment feels stu­dents from its state board should be ad­mit­ted through its own Com­mon En­trance Test as a num­ber of them are non-CBSE stu­dents and will be at a dis­ad­van­tage if they have to get se­lected through NEET, which is con­ducted by CBSE.

A sec­tion of ex­perts ar­gue that in a coun­try where the exam pat­terns and syl­labi are unique to each state, there is bound to be dis­par­ity in what t he stu­dents are t aught at the end of Class 12. There are in­stances when even within a state, there is vari­a­tion in the syl­labus. Be­sides, a ma­jor­ity of stu­dents pur­sue their stud­ies in the ver­nac­u­lar medium. Th­ese as­pects should not be ne­glected.

Ac­cord­ing to Dr KK Ag­gar­wal, hon­orary sec­re­tary gen­eral, In­dian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, “This year, states should have been al­lowed to con­duct their own ex­ams or NEET should have been im­ple­mented in states as well. The ques­tion pa­per should be set in all lan­guages to ease the bur­den

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