As the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test, shortly called as NEET comes into effect, the authenticity of other exams for medical education admission conducted by some private medical colleges and by state education departments has come under question.
Last year, the Supreme Court of India approved the Central Board of Secondary Education to conduct the NEET test for the academic year starting from 2016-2017 in two phases. The court also approved the MCI’s schedule for the common entrance exams for UG medical and dental courses. In spite of the strong protests against the NEET test in some Indian states like the Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and the Tamil Nadu, the bench of justice with A.K. Goel, S.K. Singh and Ani R. Dave, revived the test across all states among other states that it was too late.
What is the noise over the test?
Many points of disagreements were raised by the states mentioned above. The crucial one is the viability of the test and also the effect of the test on the students from varied educational backgrounds. When the test was initially introduced in the year 2016, different states inclusive of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh raised their voices against the test. These states raised the voice because they believed the test to be an infringement of their right to keep education as a subject-matter of the state.
Supreme Court’s Judgment:
Following the voice raised by the state government, in the 2016 judgment, the Supreme Court stated that the test will withdraw the medical colleges that are functioning under the state-run universities of their right to admit students according to their own procedures. So, the court declared the test as undemocratic.
Petitions in different High Courts:
Many private colleges that function from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu also filed their petitions in different high courts across the country, asking for exemption from using the NEET score as the criteria for admission to UG and PG courses.
What is the problem with Opposing States?
Now, your question would be that a common exam looks like a good idea and so why some states are opposing the standardizing procedure for admission to medical courses. The reason is that in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, students were so far been admitted to the MBBS course based on their higher secondary score. Now, when they are forced to take up an entrance test for admission to MBBS, students will face the difficulty.
In addition, these states believe that there is a great difference with respect to content in the state board syllabus and central board syllabus. As the NEET examination will be based on the central board syllabus of higher secondary classes, it will be difficult for children from these states to compete with the students from the rest of the country.
Request from the Past Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to the Prime Minister:
A request letter was sent by the recently passed away Chief Minister of the state of Tamil Nadu Ms. J. Jayalalithaa to the Prime Minister of the country Mr. Narendra Modi to direct the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to withdraw the review petition filed in the Supreme Court by the Ministry. In this letter, she insisted that NEET would adversely affect the interests of the students in the state.
Particularly, it will have a huge impact on the medical dream of students from the weaker sections of the community and those from rural areas. She also insisted that the test infringes upon the right of the state to determine the admission policies to the institutions that offer medical education.
Support to NEET:
When NEET has faced much opposition, you might be thinking whether there are individuals or bodies that support the conducting of this test. The Medical Council of India supports NEET as the council feels that this test will avoid multiple entrance examinations and will bring down corruption and irregularities in admissions to the medical courses.
In addition, the Indian Medical Association has also welcomed the decision of the Apex court stating that this test will safeguard the inviolability of the medical professionals.
What is the Present Status?
In the 2016 judgment, the Apex Court has issued a statement making NEET invalid. Following this order from the Court, the Health Ministry has stated that NEET for PG will be postponed. In addition, the ministry also announced about their idea to postpone NEET test for two months. At present, the notification for NEET 2017 is out and the examination is planned to be held on the 7th of May 2017 for UG medical courses. Also, for admission to the PG medical courses for the year 2017, NEET PG was already conducted from 5th December to 13th December 2017.
Reaction of States:
Maharashtra: The state of Maharashtra has made a request to the Medical Council of India not to conduct NEET UG for admission of students. The state government has also requested the IMC not to conduct the admissions to dental and medical courses through NEET. Instead, it was requested by the state to take MH-CET into consideration for at least a single year.
The reason stated by the Medical Education Minister of the state Mr. Vinod Tawde was that as the NEET is based on CBSE syllabus, the government will have to upgrade the Higher Secondary Syllabus and so the state will join to NEET from the year 2017.
Tamil Nadu: The government is expected to move the court once again to raise opposition to the recent order. Nearly 80 private colleges have also conducted their own medical entrance tests for admission. Now, if the NEET notification for 2017 is out and the examination is fast approaching, the state government still continues to oppose the test, while some students from the state have already started their preparation for the test.