Close to 40,000 students from Urdu medium junior colleges in the state will be affected by the Centre’s decision to exclude the language from the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) 2017, said members of the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) of India.
The group said that they will file a writ petition in the Supreme Court this week, asking the government to either have an Urdu version of the NEET paper, or to bring back MH-CET for health science courses in Maharashtra.
“Not only has the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) decided to exclude Urdu from NEET, the Maharashtra state board is also not going to conduct a separate medical entrance test for courses other than medical and dental. This means students form Urdu medium junior colleges cannot apply for health science courses altogether,” said Mohammed Ali Shaikh of SIO (south Maharashtra).
NEET was first introduced in 2013, following which Maharashtra scrapped their Common Entrance Test (CET) for health science courses. Based on a petition filed at the Supreme Court in 2014, NEET was scrapped by the SC and the state once again conducted a CET based on the NEET syllabus, while in 2015, the MH-CET was conducted on the basis of the state board syllabus in several languages, including Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati and Urdu.
In April 2016, the Supreme Court once again lifted the ban on NEET and proposed to conduct admissions to MBBS, BDS and post-graduate courses through the one common test. Maharashtra state government decided to conduct admissions to all health science courses based on NEET score for 2017, thus scrapping CET for medical admissions in the state.
“The SC had made NEET compulsory only for medical and dental courses, so at least our students had the choice of appearing for the state-conducted CET in Urdu and apply for other health science courses. By scrapping CET, our students have now been left in the lurch,” added Shaikh.
Officials from CBSE said that the decision to not include Urdu in NEET 2017 came from the central government, whereas officials from the Directorate of Medical Education & Research (DMER) said that reintroducing CET will be difficult. “The easier way out will be for CBSE to set the question paper in Urdu as well, we’ll have to wait and watch,” said an official from DMER.
Resident doctors protest govt’s decision
Over 4,000 resident doctors with interns and undergraduates in medical colleges across Maharashtra protested against the central government’s decision to introduce a National Exit Test (NEXT) on Thursday. As per the Medical Council of India Amendment bill 2016, the health ministry is planning to introduce NEXT for all MBBS students in the final year, as an eligibility test to practice as doctors. “This is excess burden on students, who are already bogged down by too many tests. Besides, this test means the government doesn’t trust their own institutes, and therefore they want to test our skills after graduation,” said Dr Yashowardhan Kabra, president of Medical Association of Resident Doctors (MARD). He also added that in case some graduates don’t clear the NEXT, they will be left unemployed despite having an MBBS degree.