The central government could approach the Supreme Court to postpone the common medical and dental entrance exam, National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), to next year.
Key political parties asked the Centre on Monday to defer the implementation of the NEET as the country’s only medical entrance test for at least a year after health minister JP Nadda met state government officials and finance minister Arun Jaitley sat with representatives of political parties.
“It is the case of some of the states that boards are unequal, their languages are dissimilar. Can those who are dissimilar in language and unequal be placed on the pedestal of quality and asked to give the same exam? We will have to see how we deal with that particular issue,” Jaitley said.
Nadda said the future course of action would be formulated “soon” as the Centre was committed to bringing in transparency in the medical education system and removing alleged malpractices.
“We will be considering the three problems that were put forward by the representatives. One, the ongoing state exams. Two, language and three, different syllabus for state exams. We will approach the court after consultations,” Nadda said.
Representatives from all states agreed there were practical difficulties in implementing the NEET from the current year and urged the health minister to appeal to the court to let the centralised test take effect from the 2017-18 session.
Vinod Tawade, education and health minister of Maharashtra, said, “The main thing is to protect the future of the students. The syllabus for the state examination is different and the students taking the exam in regional languages will also have a problem. So, we have requested the minister to appeal to the court and if the court does not agree then the exam can be deferred using an ordinance.”
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain, however, wants the exam to be implemented this year itself. “We want this exam to be implemented with immediate effect. It is a good decision and it prevents students from writing 15-20 different tests. Also, deferring it would be in favour of private medical institutes,” he said.
According to sources in the Union health ministry, the need for consultation was felt after several parliamentarians expressed resentment over holding the common entrance exam for pre-medical (MBBS) and pre-dental (BDS) courses at a short notice.
A day before the meeting, Nadda said the ministry was hoping to find a solution to address the concerns of lakhs of medical aspirants and their parents.
The Supreme Court had on April 11 paved the way for the Medical Council of India to conduct the NEET from the 2016-17 academic session for MBBS and BDS courses across the country.
Earlier this week, the apex court also turned down a batch of appeals by states seeking to conduct their own medical admission tests and ruled that only the NEET would enable students to get admission to MBBS or BDS studies.