Take a relook at NEET

Vijay GarG
Contd from Prev Issue
The SC upheld NEET once again in 2016 and every other exam scheduled for that year came to be shelved. Despite strong opposition from a section of experts, colleges and some states, NEET was implemented.
Tamil Nadu remained at the forefront for its fight against NEET and even the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had seen it as an attack of the federal nature of Indian polity.
It is pertinent to add here that admissions to MBBS to Medical Colleges in Tamil Nadu were until then on the basis of 10+2 marks. The State incidentally produces one of the largest and finest medical professionals in the nation and has higher standards of health care services delivery both in the government and private sector.
In 2018, the Apex Court upheld the NEET Regulations and thwarted any challenge to NEET. Tamil Nadu’s present government has now mounted a spirited attack against NEET.
States’ sovereignty under threat: The Constitution of India establishes a federal polity in which states are sovereign in their realm. Health is a state subject. It is for the state government to invest in health education and make an investment by private players attractive. “Logically, the State should also have a share in the manner and mode in which students are admitted in these colleges keeping merit in mind,” DK Garg, a Supreme Court lawyer, said.
States Reservation mars merit list: Many states like Punjab and Maharashtra have reserved medical seats for state students. “If a student from Delhi is higher on merit list compared to a student in Punjab, the latter will get admission due to reservation while the former will have to wait. What is the point of having a national merit list?,” a senior health official from the Delhi government said. The current scenario is beneficial for those states which have a good number of private and government medical colleges.
The concentration of opportunities for candidates: Before the implementation of NEET, states and some colleges used to hold separate exams and students had multiple opportunities to appear even if they missed one or two due to health or any other personal reasons. Now, since there is only one examination in the whole area, this has put immense pressure on students. Also, there are multiple tests to get admission in engineering, law etc.
Even the coaching industry got a huge boost after NEET as students have only one opportunity in the whole year.
Incidents like paper leak jeopardise its sanctity: Since the implementation of NEET, many cases have been reported in which unscrupulous elements have allegedly leaked the paper to students in some states. According to Garg, the biggest disadvantage with one examination deciding the fate of the country is that unfortunate incidents such as the examination paper being leaked or mistakes committed during the evaluation may vitiate the entire process. “Every year plenty of allegations are heard on this count. All this calls for a re-examination of the process itself. Let there be a stakeholder consultation to relook the issue,”
Percentile system discredits individual performance: Before NEET, a percentage system was in place to assess a candidates’ performance. Under the percentage system, an individual score against the highest total marks used to be assessed. Under the percentile system, the candidate who has scored the highest marks becomes the benchmark for the assessment of other candidates’ performance. Due to this, often low scoring candidates, who might have been eliminated in the previous system, get admission in the current system.