Mumbai: Students rejoice as Centre defers NEET by a year

While many are happy with the ordinance seeking to defer the exams by a year, those seeking admission to private colleges will have to appear for them anyway

Despite the central government issuing an ordinance, allowing states to defer the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) by a year, the shadow of the national-level entrance test still looms large over a section of medical aspirants seeking admission to private medical colleges this year.

The Union Cabinet has decided to bring in an ordinance to partially set aside the Supreme Court order that made NEET a mandatory, uniform, national-level common entrance test for admission to medical courses. While they are happy with the decision, students continue to struggle with their preparation to appear for NEET’s phase II in July to keep their options open for admission to private medical colleges. From the next year however, all admission to MBBS/BDS courses will be done through NEET.

Students and parents in the city celebrate the Union Cabinet’s decision to defer NEET by a year. PIC/PRABHANJAN DHANU
Students and parents in the city celebrate the Union Cabinet’s decision to defer NEET by a year. PIC/PRABHANJAN DHANU

Parents say
“It is a good decision indeed, but irrespective of it, I feel students should continue their NEET phase II preparations. Though it feels like the confusion has been cleared now, we never know whether this ordinance will be challenged, considering the complete uncertainty over this issue since the beginning,” said Rajiv Shah, a parent.

Ajay Gupta, another parent said, “It is very good news. However the ambiguity still continues as it is not clear yet whether private colleges will consider CET score or not. But at least the burden has been reduced to a great extent now as even for government colleges, the CET stands for this academic year.”

Burden is a little less
Satvik Mehta, a student from Vile Parle, said, “The main demand was to let CET continue this year. Though it has been agreed to partially, it is okay. It is not possible to prepare for NEET in just two months, but now, with this decision, the burden is a little less as state CET continues. Next year’s students will have at least a year to prepare for NEET.”

Rutvik Bhojani, a Std XII student, said, “It has been quite chaotic this year. Right now, we know that NEET will be mandatory for medical admissions next year, but can we be sure? This year everybody knew that there will be state CET and suddenly, it was scrapped. Anything can happen next year, too.”

Adding to this uncertainty, Rujuta Devrukkar, a parent said, “When my elder daughter was appearing for medical entrance they brought back state CET by cancelling NEET at the last moment, now they are doing completely opposite. How can we be sure that next year there wouldn’t be any chaos? The government seems to be playing with careers of students.”

Complete pass
Dr Keyur Cholera, a biology teacher from a medical entrance-coaching institute said, “This is a good decision. However, we would have appreciated more if NEET was completely given a pass this year. Now, though students are getting another chance to appear for NEET by keeping their options open for admission to private colleges, it is going to be two months of rigorous preparation to successfully appear for NEET. This is going to exhaust students.”

Officials say
Claiming credit for the ordinance, state education minister, Vinod Tawde said in a press conference yesterday, “Maharashtra state government’s efforts have been instrumental in bringing about this change. This has come as sigh of relief to lakhs of students and their parents. Admission to all government medical colleges will be done through CET this year.”

“This decision is a great respite for students from rural areas, as NEET, which is completely based on CBSE curriculum would have been difficult to attempt for these students from the state board. Moreover, several of these students who wanted to appear for the examination through regional languages, have not been offered that option in NEET.”

The minister also revealed the state board syllabus and pattern will be tweaked with help of experts to help students appearing for NEET. As per the decision, admission to 2,810 seats in government medical colleges will be done through state CET and admission to total 3,395 seats in private as well as deemed university will be done through NEET.

Director of Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), Dr. Praveen Shingare, said, “Government of India cabinet has approved an ordinance to cancel NEET, only for government medical and dental colleges and for this year only. Though admission to government colleges will be done through CET this year, admissions in private colleges will be done as per NEET merit list. Next year all admissions will be based on NEET except admission to courses such as homeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, pharmacy etc, which will be done through CET.”

The number of seats in state’s private medical colleges

Sankalp unhappy
Meanwhile, Sankalp Charitable Trust from Delhi – that filed a PIL for implementation of NEET mandate – issued a statement yesterday, after the ordinance was announced. The statement reads, “Proposed ordinance is against the constitutional provisions. It is encroachment on the power of judiciary. The executive cannot sit as an appellant authority over the judiciary. It cannot set aside the order of Supreme Court in this manner. The move is anti-students, anti-reform in the medical field and it will bring down the standard of medical education in India…We condemn this move and appeal to all that they should rise against the proposed ordinance.”

CM says
I told the PM that the rural students of Maharashtra were unable to prepare for the NEET in such a short time and requested him to promulgate the ordinance so that the government can prepare a new curriculum for next year’s NEET.

Devendra Fadnavis
Devendra Fadnavis

I thank the PM for postponing the NEET for a year.

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