JEE Main and NEET are two largest entrance exams for class 12 students in India. Whereas the former is for admission to engineering and architecture programs, the latter is for medical, dental, and ayush courses. Both these exams have been handed over by CBSE to newly formed NTA or National Testing Agency. JEE Main 2019 and NEET 2019 are now being conducted by NTA.
The government seems to be on a surprise giving spree when it comes to these two exams. First, the exams were changed from single day offline mode to twice a year online mode. Then NEET 2019 was reverted to old format, albeit it is still being conducted by NTA. Now it has been reported that the government will convert 2697 test practice centers for free coaching purposes.
How it will work out will be like this. First candidates will have to register for NTA test practice centers, either from nta.ac.in, or app. Mobile application will be able to detect nearest JEE / NEET TPC. Then, candidates can go and take mock tests at those centers. After that, they can analyse their performance in mock and contact teachers at centers . All this will be for free.
TOI was first to report this. Officials have stated, as per report, that only JEE Main 2019 mock test will be available for now. This is because NEET 2019 will be not be held in online mode. So there will not be any mock test for NEET.
Online registration for NTA test practice centers start September 1, 2018. Candidates will be able to take mock tests from a date decided by NTA, which is reported to be September 8, 2018.
By converting these centers to go a step further and start coaching students, the government may throw a spanner in the gears of coaching industry. However far reaching consequences may be limited to start with.
Crisil Research findings showed, in the year 2011, that the coaching institute industry was at a 40.187 crore mark. A research paper titled “Popularity of coaching classes in India” introduces its findings by stating that tuitions, coachings run parallel to mainstream education in India now. It further finds that in a bid to compete with lakhs of students in an entrance exam, students have to rush to coaching classes to get necessary amount of “practice and attention”.
Close to 1.4 million students appear for JEE Main and NEET each. This makes a population of 2.8 million youth that needs guidance and support for such exams where they have to appear in, at the age of 17 or near about.
Keeping aside the enormity of the sheer numbers, one aspect that can be clearly tackled with free coaching by government, is easier access to rural and semi urban students.
Bereft of posh coaching classes or tutors aware of competitive exams, students from rural and semi urban areas often feel left out of the race. Many students pack up their bags and shift to Kota and other coaching havens to devote their time and attention to preparation. However those who do not, are left with little or no resources to prepare.
Whereas on one hand it can be argued that entrance exams are designed in such a way that students can study from NCERT textbooks to score well. But on the other hand, it begs to be answered, that what score is too well? In an exam such as NEET, where only 90000 seats are there for MBBS/BDS, how can any student just “score well” and expect admission. Obviously, helping hand, such as in this scheme, is quite welcome.
What the government bids to do with providing free coaching to students through JEE and NEET TPCs is a welcome move. Let us know your views in comments below.