Ongoing issues with the NEET exam

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Source: The post ongoing issues with the NEET exam has been created, based on the article “NEET-NET crisis: The reason behind India’s failing exam system” published in “Indian express” on 21st June 2024

UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper2-Governance-Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Context: The article discusses the ongoing issues with the NEET exam in India, including cheating scandals, a lack of transparency, and its negative impact on rural and poorer students. It suggests that the root problem is poor school education quality and calls for a policy overhaul to address these issues.

For detailed information on NEET Controversy read this article here

What are the problems with NEET?

  1. Paper Leaks: NEET exams have been marred by repeated paper leaks over the years, undermining the exam’s credibility.
  2. Incorrect Results: Mismanagement in result declaration has led to incorrect outcomes, causing distress among aspirants.
  3. Unusual Scoring Patterns: This year, 67 students scored perfect marks, a significant increase from the usual two or three, raising suspicions of irregularities.
  4. Grace Marks Issues: Over 1,560 students received grace marks for unclear reasons, adding to the transparency issues.
  5. Loss of Trust: These issues have significantly eroded trust in the National Testing Agency (NTA), responsible for conducting NEET.

Why was NEET introduced?

  1. Standardizing Entry-Level Competence: It aimed to ensure that all medical college entrants had a solid understanding of basic sciences like Chemistry, Physics, and Biology.
  2. Reducing Multiple Exams: Prior to NEET, students faced around 46 different entrance exams, which was cumbersome and stressful.
  3. Eliminating Capitation Fees: NEET intended to remove the high fees charged by private medical colleges for admissions, which were often not based on merit but on the ability to pay.

How has NEET affected the education system?

  1. NEET has led to a significant bias in the education system, favoring students from CBSE backgrounds because the NEET syllabus is more aligned with the CBSE curriculum, disadvantaging students from state boards.
  2. Due to this imbalance, students from state boards are often compelled to undertake extra coaching to compete effectively, contributing to the growth of a coaching industry valued at Rs 58,000 crore, expanding at a rate of 15% annually.
  3. Specifically, in Tamil Nadu, the introduction of NEET has adversely affected rural and Tamil(state)-medium students.

What has been Tamil Nadu’s response to NEET?

  1. Tamil Nadu has always opposed NEET, favoring its policy of linking medical college admissions to high school performance.
  2. In 2021, Tamil Nadu formed the Expert Committee led by Justice A K Rajan to assess the impact of NEET.
  3. The Rajan Committee found that admissions of Tamil-medium students dropped from an average of 15% to between 1.6% and 3.2% from 2017 to 2021.
  4. Admissions of rural students to government medical colleges decreased from 62% to 50%.
  5. Tamil Nadu’s public health system relies on rural students who are willing to work in primary health centers, unlike urban students who often seek careers in corporate hospitals or abroad.
  6. The state government passed a law to scrap NEET, but it was blocked by the Governor.

What should be done?

  1. Revamp NEET with input from all stakeholders.
  2. Consider decentralizing exams to states or universities.
  3. Possibly reintroduce a six-year MBBS degree with a pre-medical year.

4.Establish regional boards or centralize only qualifying exams for practicing outside the state.

Question for practice:

Examine the controversies surrounding NEET in India, including issues with paper leaks, result inaccuracies, and its impact on rural and poorer students.

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