The confusion over the sudden roll-out of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) has reportedly created ‘problems’ for students. However, seemingly it is the private medical colleges and not students who will be at the receiving end. NEET will have devastating effect on multi-crore ‘capitation fees’ industry run by private medical colleges. There are more than 250 private medical colleges in the country where mostly admission processes are a ‘farce’ and ‘capitation fees’ is what decides the entry of the candidates. The National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) replacing all other private and state medical entrance tests across the country is scheduled to be held on 24 July.
The Supreme Court on 28 April approved conducting NEET for students seeking to enter BDS and MBBS courses in the 2016-17 sessions. The apex court denied to entertain the plea taken by some of the States and associations of private medical colleges, which requested the government and the court “not to thrust NEET on them”. Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice AR Dave gave its approval to the two-phase holding of the examination by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
The effect the roll-out would have on the students has been widely debated. However, talking to students, medical practitioners and teachers helping students with the entrance test preparation, gives a different picture.
Vinay Bhargav who teaches students appearing for various medical entrance tests says, “See the benefit of implementing NEET is that the process of misusing the entire entrance process by taking huge capitation fees will immediately be checked. Also, earlier students had to appear for lots of exams and incur huge expenses on filling numerous entrance exam forms. Now students will have only one exam to concentrate. This is seen as a problem by some students as they feel their choices have been reduced. However, I don’t see a problem here. The exam pattern and everything will remain same. Supreme Court has now allowed students to appear for NEET 2 (All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) will be considered the first phase of NEET which was held on 1 May) Students are getting benefited as they are getting another chance and much more time to revise the syllabus”.
He adds, “My take is that it is good but the time gap between board and the entrance exam should be such that students get enough time for preparation. I don’t think students in general have any problem with the new scheme. Most of the students are happy that they are getting chance to appear for NEET 2”.
In December 2010, Medical Council of India (MCI) amended its ‘Graduate Medical Education Regulation’ which provides for the procedure and qualification for the admission to medical colleges. As per the amendment it was made mandatory that those seeking admission in MBBS and other courses will have to secure minimum eligibility marks in common entrance test which was to be called NEET. It was challenged by various private medical colleges and other organizations and was struck down in 2013 by the Supreme Court. A review petition was filed by Union of India and MCI. In April 2016 the earlier judgement was set aside by a larger bench. NEET was revived. Reviving the NEET, the court held, “We further clarify that notwithstanding any order passed by any Court earlier with regard to not holding NEET, this order shall operate. Therefore, no further order is required to be passed at this stage”.
Talking about the issue, a doctor-turned-civil-servant from Maharashtra says, “This is indeed an opposition and confusion created by a bogey of private medical college owners. I have seen in Maharashtra where a particular family that owns host of medical colleges have created a huge fortune through selling seats to sons and daughters of rich people. They will never want a common entrance test as that will lead to shutting down their shops”.
He adds, “Even some very influential doctors would never want NEET to be implemented as they would have to ensure seats for their own sons and daughter who had to run their big medical empires. How can they allow NEET to replace other entrance test, which allows easy entry for their wards.”
Dr Rahul Tiwari, Neurosurgeon, at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital feels that NEET is “must for ensuring that only meritorious and eligible candidates enter the medical colleges”.
“Implementing NEET is the need of the hour. A lot of undeserving people are getting seats in private medical colleges by shelling out huge amounts. I did my MBBS from King George Medical College, Lucknow, which is one of the most prestigious medical colleges of the country and I can say with certain conviction that a serious student will never have much problem with this change. This is much required for uniformity in selection and admission. NEET is going to affect multi-crore ‘capitation fees’ industry not students.”
Talking to Firstpost, Advocate Amit Kumar who appeared for the NGO Sankalp which filed the PIL seeking an order to be issued to conduct NEET said, “In All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) around 6 lakh students have appeared and for this they study physics, chemistry and biology only. Some students had grievance that they were not prepared and they were preparing for state examination and they were never told that AIPMT will be converted into NEET. The apex court taking this into consideration ordered that those who are not satisfied with their result can appear in NEET 2 to be held on 24 July. See essentially the problem is not of students; rather it is of medical colleges”.
He adds, “There are around 20,000 seats in private medical colleges. They have been conducting exams for entrance which has been completely farcical.
Everyone knows that. They are opposing it because NEET will lead to major loss of revenue for them which they use to earn in form of capitation fees. They are pushing the case of students who get into medical colleges from backdoor. No serious student will have problem with a uniform exam. The only problem is that there is some confusion that needs to be dispelled. The whole bogey has been created that it is in interest of student to have multiple exams and oppose NEET”.
He adds, “85 percent of seats in all the states will be reserved for its own students. They will have a level playing field, as they will have to compete with candidates of their own states only. Where is the problem in this? Secondly they are talking about the issue of language (The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is conducting the NEET in the current year only in English and Hindi). This is again a perceived problem. Most of the States don’t conduct exam in (regional) languages”.
“So many medical colleges across the country are owned by big politicians and really influential people. There is very strong lobby. Those opposing NEET are putting forward the cause of private colleges and not students,” says Kumar.
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Updated Date: May 18, 2016 10:44:00 IST