The state in an application filed in the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday stated it either wants to be exempted from the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), or be allowed to conduct its own entrance test until 2017.
It has said that the state is not against the return of NEET, but they would want to defer its implementation to 2018 so that students are not inconvenienced. The hearing on the application is scheduled for Tuesday.
“While the petition looks at many aspects, the two main points are that either the Maharashtra government be permanently omitted from NEET and if that is not possible, then the same be applicable only from 2018,” said Pravin Shingare, director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER).
Shingare said students have been preparing for the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (MH-CET) 2016 for the past two years and expecting them to go through a new portion for NEET will be unfair. “Our petition has kept in mind the best interest of our students,” he said.
While NEET was first introduced in 2013, it was discontinued within the first year after a Supreme Court order. State governments introduced their common entrance tests for engineering and medical/paramedical aspirants over the next few years. The SC bench recalled their decision after a not-for-profit group filed a public interest litigation (PIL) earlier this year claiming that private medical institutes were fleecing students.
“The original petition was filed by an NGO. While some state governments were respondents in the case, our state had no representation. This new petition is an attempt to put our point of view before the court as it also concerns students from our state,” said a senior education official requesting anonymity.
According to the senior education official, the SC’s verdict to restart NEET examinations for medical aspirants from this year has left lakhs of students anxious about their future. “Expecting students to go through a large portion [for NEET] in less than two months is unfair. We want to make sure we leave no stone unturned in ensuring the best for our students,” he said.
With the SC paving the way for NEET from this year, the first phase of the examination took place on May 1 with the All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT). Students complained that the questions were difficult.
“We don’t want students to suffer. It has been clearly stated that MH-CET will be conducted as per schedule on May 5. We hope the SC bench will hear our side on Tuesday and give a verdict which will bring relief to our students, who are anxious about answering the tests,” said Shingare.