Representatives of the education ministries of 23 states met in Delhi on Monday to discuss the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) and requested to central government to pass an ordinance allowing the states to conduct their own entrance exams this year. The representatives said medical aspirants across the country have been under tremendous pressure over the NEET exam as most of them are not prepared it, having studied for their states’ entrance tests.
“We have once again requested the government either review the judgment or bring about an ordinance to postpone NEET examination by at least one year. Not only are students worried about lack of preparation time, most are also not aware of the paper pattern,” said state education minister Vinod Tawde, who attended the discussion at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi. He added, “The problem is bigger for students from rural parts of the state, because they are allowed to write the state’s common entrance test (MH-CET) in Marathi and Urdu as well, whereas NEET will only be available in English and Hindi.”
The discussion took place in the presence of union health minister J P Nadda and other senior officials who, after hearing all the state representatives, agreed to take the matter to higher authorities. “Government of Maharashtra has specifically requested the government to postpone the exam by a year and to allow admissions to medical and dental institutes in state through MH-CET this year,” said Pravin Shingare, director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER).
NEET was conducted for the first time in May 2013, before the Supreme Court scrapped it in July that year. For two years, various states conducted their own entrance tests for medical colleges. In April this year, however, the Supreme Court said that all states must follow NEET for admission to medical and dental colleges. The court’s order meant that all state CETs were effectively scrapped, leaving students with barely two months to familiarise themselves with the CBSE-derived syllabus of NEET.
Officials from the state education department told HT that over the past couple of days, Tawde has met various officials from the central government, including HRD minister Smriti Irani, to find a solution to the issue.