The flaws in NEET have been well addressed by the critics and commoners. Since the beginning, various states have been opposed the concept of common entrance exam but all agreed after SC made it mandatory. Yet, there is one state which is just not ready to put it’s foot down.
Tamil Nadu’s battle against National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test goes back a long way. Earlier, admissions for Medical and Dental courses in Tamil Nadu were done on the basis of Class 12th board marks and the education status has been fairly good.
It is a known fact that the literacy rate of Tamil Nadu is quite high. The GER of girl students is 42.7% against 22.7% nationally. It had almost 100% retention up to elementary school in 2012, while about 45% of all students who joined the school at the primary level in the state manage to get admitted in colleges. So, the question is why would a state with such high literacy rate be against NEET?
The only justification is to create equal opportunities for students regardless of their class or any other such barriers. The State argues that economically weak student will be at a loss because they cannot afford expensive coaching and their dreams will be shattered.
Before NEET, out of the 2,500 government seats in Tamil Nadu, 69% were reserved for BC, MBC, and SC/ST students. However, there was very little, if any, a difference in the admission cutoffs. For example, for entrance to the prestigious Madras Medical College in 2014, the cutoff for OC students was 199.5, for BC it was 199.25, for MC it was 198.75, and for SC/ST students it was 196.75. A significant number of students from the marginalized sections of society scored over 98% to be enrolled under the open category. Such a system ensured fair representation and is not afraid of maintaining high standards.
Last year, the question papers (of NEET) were different in regional languages and were a lot more difficult than the question paper in English Medium. Tamil Nadu has been opposing NEET claiming that the students from the CBSE board will have an advantage over students from state boards as the syllabus matched.
Since NEET has come into existence, it has become one of the most controversial exams of India. Recently, MCI proposed another idea, in which the NIOS students will not be eligible to appear for NEET 2018. The reason is quite astonishing, MCI was concerned that the NIOS students can not match the level of intelligence of students from regular schools. It has been reported that Center has opposed the notion. Considering these factors, it seems that Tamil Nadu can be a savior for many medical aspirants.
The protests against NEET caught flames, after the unfortunate suicide of Anitha Shanmugam. A bright student and daughter of a daily wage laborer scored a brilliant 1,176 on 1,200 in her class 12th state board exams. Ideally, by now she should have been enrolled in some prestigious medical college. She would have been the first person from her community in the village of Kuzhumur, Ariyalur district, to become a doctor. Yet reality struck hard and she was unable to take coaching for NEET due to financial issues.
The syllabus of TN Board and NEET varies and coaching is required for NEET Preparation. She scored only 86 out of 700 in the exam. To get justice, she sought help from the court and argued that poor students like her could not afford the coaching classes needed to crack the entrance test that’s based on the CBSE syllabus. The questions are tough for students like her who attended state board schools.
She was a winner, a girl who went to the Supreme Court to fight for thousands of students like her against NEET. But her unrewarded efforts and lack of due recognition for her achievements drove her to take such a drastic step.
It is not just a case of Tamil Nadu against NEET. How difficult it could be to put a full stop to the agony, anxiety or distress of lakh of students. Why put the students in such a situation where they have to take such a step. Education is a fragile subject and NEET eats into the rights of the state to conduct admissions. The Education System in India has a lot of loopholes. Forcing something on someone has never reaped the fruit. Keeping at stake the future of lakhs of students and justifying this will improve the educational quality can no longer be an excuse to be used by such authorities.