The Central government has decided to introduce an age limit for medical aspirants taking the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), on Tuesday. The age limit for those aiming at 15% all-India quota seats has been set to 25 years whereas those from reserved categories will be able to take the test till they turn 30 years old. But the number of attempts for each candidate will the three only.
NEET was first introduced in 2013, when Maharashtra scrapped their own medical entrance test. After a petition was filed in the Supreme Court in 2014, NEET was scrapped and the state conducted its own CET based on the the NEET syllabus, while in 2015, the MH-CET was conducted on the basis of state board syllabus. In April 2016, however, the Supreme Court once again lifted the ban on NEET and proposed to conduct admissions to MBBS, BDS and post-graduate courses through this one common test. CET for medical admissions has since been scrapped in Maharashtra.
“The move will help bring better quality candidates in medical education because we know of cases where a student has appeared for the entrance test almost ten times, and then passed. This cannot be allowed as it compromises with the quality we hope the candidates to have,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER).
This decision was taken at a meeting held in Delhi and a notification on the same will reach all state governments soon. While officials as well as many parents are lauding this move, experts said this might affect many from the reserved categories attempting to become doctors. “Many from the reserved categories have no back up of tutorials guiding them so they might need more than three attempts,” said Mahesh Sethi, who tutors medical aspirants. Many also said that the age limit should be the same for all categories.
Meanwhile, parents are more worried about the delay in the registration process for NEET exams. “The process starts in mid-December but we have not heard from the authorities yet. We hope that they are not planning to start the process when our children will be busy with their class XII exams, which starts in February,” said Ankit Maniar, a parent. CBSE authorities said that a circular on the process and final dates of NEET 2017 exam should be released by next week.