A point of confusion for lakhs of medical seat aspirants across the country is the National Eligibilty Entrance Test (NEET), which will be the single entrance exam for all medical colleges in the country.
The Supreme Court has approved the schedule decided by the Centre, CBSE and the Medical Council of India (MCI). According to the order, the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) fixed for 1 May is to be treated as NEET-1.
The order had said those who had not applied for AIPMT will be given the opportunity to appear in NEET-II on 24 July, and a combined result will be declared on 17 August, so that the admission process can be completed by 30 September.
With the Supreme Court refusing to entertain the Centre's plea to stay first phase of NEET, which is to be conducted on 1 May, it is most likely that NEET will happen according to SC's order this year.
Why NEET could be a bad idea
On 11 April, Supreme Court ordered all medical colleges, including deemed institutions, to take admissions on the basis of NEET. With this decisions, institutions like AIIMS were no more permitted to conduct private entrance tests.
This invoked confusion among students, who were looking forward to appearing for the medical entrance exams, and their parents.
Since the syllabus of NEET is covered by CBSE but not by other state boards, students could
A parent, Mr M. Manik Reddy, whose daughter has applied for AP-Eamcet was quoted by Deccan Chronicle as saying, “This will favour students from central syllabi like CBSE and ICSE, which cover the NEET syllabus, while state boards lag behind."
The order had come out less than a month before the students would be appearing for the entrance exam. By bringing all colleges under one NEET, experts fear that it will affect the students as they earlier could fare well in one while scoring low in the other.
Speaking to Firstpost, Vimala Ramachandran, former professor at National University of Educational Planning and Administration said, "I think putting all the eggs in one basket is not every good for all the students. For example if there is only one entrance for all medical colleges, then my fear is that it may actually adversely affect children from different parts of the country."
She felt that a single entrance exam for medical would not give us quality results. "There should be more than one exam because it depends a lot on which board you are coming from. If JEE was the only entrance exam for engineering, that'd be quite sad because students can go to Kota and get trained to give the exam. That does not necessarily mean they do better. I know a lot of very bright young people who have done well in life and who could not get through JEE because they could not go through this rigorous coaching," she said.
"The Pilani (BITS) entrance test is administered online and you can give the test in multiple attempts to improve your score. Maybe those kind of exams would have greater value than having pen and paper exams," she added.
Why NEET could be a good idea
According to a report by The Hindu, the MCI is of the opinion that NEET would avoid multiple entrance tests and minimise corruption and irregularities in admissions to medical courses, while the IMA has welcomed the apex court’s decision, saying it will help safeguard the sanctity of the medical profession.
Since NEET will be held in two phases this year, students who had not applied for AIPMT will be able to appear in the second phase in July.
However, Ramachandran stressed that there is only one positive aspect of NEET. "There would be some standardised benchmark. We also know that there multiple exams and the quality is fairly variable. This could be the only positive aspect," she said.
Another reason why NEET could have a positive effect is that it will stop colleges from conducting malpractices during admission process.
"With NEET, unscrupulous and money-minded businessmen entering and operating in the field of education will diminish," Supreme Court lawyer MR Shamshad was quoted saying by Financial Express,
On Friday, the Centre moved Supreme Court to seek approval on keeping separate exams for MBBS and BDS courses.
If that is brought to effect, students would face further problems in getting a seat in either of the fields.
"Students who give the common test, they mostly have aim of getting into MBBS. If they don't(get into MBBS), then go for BDS. If they only give exam for MBBS and not score enough, they'll be stuck," Sanjana Uppal, a final year MBBS student from Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences, told Firstpost.
To cut a long story short, even though NEET was declared illegal and unconstitutional by Supreme Court of India in 2013, it is the current reality for lakhs of medical aspirants in the country.
With inputs from Vishnupriya Bhandaram