Admissions to medical and dental seats in the country is bound to get tougher in this year, with almost 11.5 lakh aspirants registering for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) 2017. Last year, NEET was conducted in two phases and the total number of candidates stood at 7.5 lakh. There are around 56,000 seats in medical and dental institutes across the country.
“In 2016, many students ended up skipping the entrance exam because NEET called for the CBSE syllabus whereas most students were depending on state board syllabus for their state conducted entrance examinations. Along with fresh candidates, most who took a drop of a year will also be vying for these seats this year,” said Sudha Shenoy, one of the parents.
Medical admissions has faced a lot of changes in the past few years, starting from May 2013, where the NEET exam was held for the first time for admissions to medical and dental courses. The same exam was duly scrapped by the Supreme Court in September 2013, forcing state governments across the country to conduct their own entrance exam for health science aspirants (based on CBSE syllabus).
In 2015, Maharashtra government conducted the MH-CET based on state board syllabus, only to be changed once again in 2016, when the SC once again reinforced the compulsion on NEET and making it the single window entrance exam for admission to all medical and dental institutes in the country. While for 2016, state governments were allowed to conduct CETs for admissions to state government-run institutes, SC made it clear that from 2017 NEET will be the only exam applicable for admissions to medical and dental colleges.
Officials from the state claimed that this spike in number of applications to NEET 2017 can also partly be blamed on Maharashtra government’s decision to scrap CET. “Since Maharashtra will no longer conduct a common entrance test for any of the health science courses, all students from the state have to apply for NEET,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, director, Directorate of Medical Education & Research (DMER). He added that another reason for the increase is also the amended law which makes NEET also compulsory for students vying for seats in the NRI quota, management quota, etc. “Everybody will invariably have to opt for NEET this year, in order to be eligible for medical and dental seats,” he said.
NEET 2017 will be held across the country on May 7, 2017.