NEET A blessing to students
The concept of a single entrance examination for medical courses had been in the limelight for quite some time in the country. However, the same has not taken off for one reason or the other, till date. Even in 2012, after the MCI gave all indications of conducting NEET, the same had to be put off, even after the syllabus for the same was announced and published by the Medical Council of India. It is now announced that NEET will take place in 2013.
As per the website of Medical Council of India, there were around 40485 MBBS seats in 335 Medical Collages across the country. About 13.89% of the seats, coming to 5625 are located in the Medical Collages in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu account for 4850 (11.98%), 4860 (12%) and 4815 (11.89%) seats respectively. So the four states all together contribute about 49.76% of the MBBS seats in the country. The MBBS seats in other states are as follows. Uttar Pradesh- 3049, Kerala- 2800, Gujarat- 2380, West Bengal- 1850, Madhya Pradesh- 1370, Rajasthan- 1300, Pondicherry- 1125, Punjab- 1145, Assam- 526, Bihar- 660, Chandigarh- 50, Chathisgarh- 200, Delhi- 780, Goa- 100, Haryana- 600, Himachal- 200, Jammu Kashmir- 350, Jharkhand- 250, Manipur- 200, Orrissa- 750, Sikhim- 50, Tripura- 200, Uttaranchal- 400.
The Medical Collages in the country are spread over various sectors including government, aided, government controlled, self financing. There are also medical collages under deemed to be universities and also medical collages like, AIIMS, JIPMER etc., established by acts of parliament. At present, there is All India Pre Medical/Dental Entrance Examination (AIPMT) for admission to the 15% all India quota seats for MBBS/BDS seats in Government Medical Collages in the country. This examination, conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education is a two stage examination. The preliminary examination usually held in the first Sunday of April every year is something like a screening test. Those successful in this are selected for the final examination usually held in May. About 2250 MBBS seats and around 250 BDS seats come under the purview of this AIPMT. This comes to only about 5.56% of the total MBBS seats in the country. It just shows that about 95% of the MBBS seats are filled up by other procedures. It is here that the relevance of NEET has been highlighted by many. MBBS seats in those collages having All India quota seats for MBBS are also there in the 94% seats filled by other methods.
Many of the Institutions in the Private Sector or those having Deemed University status conduct their own entrance examination to select students for MBBS. The States also have their own admission pattern which generally includes and entrance Examinations also, except for Tamil Nadu which admits students for MBBS based on the marks in the qualifying examination only. Even institutions like All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Newdelhi and Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education, Puducherry, which are established by acts of parliament not only abstain from contributing to the All India quota seats for MBBS, but also have their own admission tests for MBBS admissions. Banaras Hindu University has been contributing to the All India quota allotments and at the same time has been conducting its own examination also for MBBS admissions.
Some of the other major entrance examinations conducted for MBBS admissions include the ones conducted by AFMC, Pune, Indraprastha university (Stage I and II) Delhi; Annamalai university, Mahathma Gandhi institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha; Aligarh muslim university; Christian medical collage, vellore; Cristian medical collage, Ludhiana; St.John's medical collage, Bangalore; Bharat Vidyapeed, Maharashtra; BLDE university, Bijapur, Karnataka; MJMCRI, Puducherry; Consortium of medical, engineering and dental collages of Karnataka (COMEDK) DY Patil university, Pune; Himalayan institute hospital trust university, Dehradun; KLE university, Belgaum; Krishnan institute of medical sciences, Maharashtra; KRLM Karnataka; Manipal university, Karnataka; Meenakshi university, TamilNadu, MGM UHS; Pravara institute of medical sciences, Maharashtra; Saveeta university, Chennai; Sri Ramachandra university, Chennai; Vinayaka mission, Tamil Nadu; Yenepoya university, Mangalore, Karnataka; COMEDK, Karnataka; AMUPMDC, Maharashtra etc. (The list is not exhaustive). The state level medical entrances are in addition to these.
Multiple Entrance Test- a head ache
Any student aspiring for an MBBS seat in the country if he/she wants to attend majority of the medical entrance exams at present, have to go for almost over 30 entrance tests. Most of the agencies charge an amount not exceeding Rs.1000/-. There are agencies that charge a few thousands on this. Some agencies do not even put up their prospectus for public viewing so as to enable one to know if he/she is eligible to apply for the test. So a candidate has to purchase the prospectus to confirm the eligibility. All these put much financial strain on the applicant and parent. So any candidate having a try at majority of the entrances has to spend something in the range of Rs.50000/- for applying itself.
The financial burden on account of travelling to attend the examination is another burden that the candidates and parents may have to face. This is very high in case of entrance examinations that do not have centers in all states. The entrance examinations of AIIMS, JIPMER and BHU all have a few centers only. Those applying for these examinations may have to travel at least a day or two in advance to reach the examination center. This certainly has some financial implications.
The entrance examinations are generally scheduled on holidays and Saturdays, in the months of April/May. There are examinations being held in June also. Due to the large number of examinations, there are several instances when more than one entrance examination has to be scheduled on a particular date, which naturally would lead to a situation when the candidate would have to forgo some of them.
The stress and strain and the mental agony that the students face on account of multiple entrances is another factor.
The single entrance is a solution to most of the problems that the students and parents face on account of multiple entrance tests. A single entrance test would substantially reduce the burden of applying for several entrance tests, the financial burden of the students and parents, the stress and strain of the students.
The NEET, it seems would only be a qualifying examination. There is no proposal as such now to have a single admission process which in no way seems to be practical because of the complexities of the admission policies of different states as well as the reservation policies in different states.
Although there are several points in favour of having a single entrance examination for MBBS admissions, there are certain apprehensions that need to be set aside by the authorities. The very fact that this is the only entrance examination for admission to MBBS course in a year causes some concern. A student, who is unable to attend this examination for one reason or the other, would be loosing a year for want of eligibility for admission to the MBBS course. At present, a student unable to attend one examination can go in for another as there are several admission tests in a year. This shortfall has to be sorted out. It is not known how this tests will be made applicable to Tamil Nadu and other states that do not have an entrance test for medical admissions. There, the admissions to MBBS course are purely based on the marks in the qualifying examination.
Syllabus of NEET
The apprehensions of several states about the syllabus of NEET also have to be sorted out. They argue that the standard of the NEET syllabus is high when compared to that of their state syllabus and that their students would be finding it difficult to compete along with the students of other states.The NEET is not assessing relative merit as it is not meant for a common admission process. It need be considered only as a qualifying test. Students from a state who have taken a common syllabus for their qualifying examination will be ranked based on the marks in the NEET. So all such students will be equally affected be the toughness or the simplicity of the syllabus and hence it seems to be an apprehension out of place.
The sanctioning of examination centers in larger numbers all over the country and even outside the country is to be ensured when a single examination is put in place. A decision has to be taken on the score of NEET. There are scores that have validity exceeding one year. There are no reports on this matter so far and so as such, it should be believed that the score is valid for the year of appearance only.
The fate of All India Agriculture Entrance examination, All India Pre veterinary Entrance examination etc., have to be decided. If the number of entrance examinations is to be brought down, these examinations should be dropped and the NEET should be made applicable to all medical courses. It is almost certain that admissions to the BDS course would also be coming under the purview of NEET, which means that the NEET score would be the criterion for BDS admissions also as in the case of MBBS admissions.
The Government and Medical Council of India should take every effort to ensure that all the institutions running the MBBS course in the country are brought under the purview of NEET.It has to be ensured that institutions national importance like AIIMS and JIPMER are also brought under the purview of this test.
As of now, it is persumed that NEET would be held in 2013. This would be a historic event in any case, and a solution to a long standing demand of the student community.