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
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