NEET, NET row: Students in Chandigarh feel helpless, ask for big changes to counter paper leaks - Hindustan Times
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NEET, NET row: Students in Chandigarh feel helpless, ask for big changes to counter paper leaks

By, Chandigarh
Jun 26, 2024 08:34 AM IST

27-year-old Zahid Khan, who hails from Ladakh and is pursuing PhD from Panjab University, Chandigarh, chose not to go back home in summer vacations to appear for his UGC NET

With paper leak allegations plaguing the NEET UG 2024, and the cancellation of the UGC NET, CSIR NET and NEET PG, students have been left feeling helpless and are demanding change in the process. Experts suggest that authorities retake the NEET UG to ease the worries of the students and develop a foolproof method for the future.

Experts suggest that authorities retake the NEET UG to ease the worries of the students and develop a foolproof method for the future. (iStock)
Experts suggest that authorities retake the NEET UG to ease the worries of the students and develop a foolproof method for the future. (iStock)

Zahid Khan, 27, who hails from Ladakh and is pursuing PhD from Panjab University (PU), chose not to go back home in summer vacations to appear for his UGC NET.

“When it was announced that the exam had been cancelled, I felt dejected as I could have gone back home. I gave up appearing in other exams like the Staff Selection Commission to focus on this exam. Authorities must take action against those who have made the majority like us suffer.”

He said the opposite happened to some of his friends who hail from Jammu and Kashmir. They had gone from Chandigarh to their home towns to appear for the exam but now rued having wasted the money on travel.

A student set to appear for NEET PG in the tricity described how he was in disbelief when the exam was postponed at 10.30 pm on the night before the exam on Sunday.

“Many students thought that it was just a rumour at first. We were going to be free for a month after the exam. Some of us had booked tickets for vacations. There are cases where some students had scheduled their marriages in this period before starting with their PG degrees. We are feeling quite disheartened,” he said.

Coaching centres acknowledged that a crisis of such magnitude has deeply affected people’s perception of the exam. Kunal Singh, who runs a coaching centre in the tricity, said, “If the question paper of UGC NET is available for just 2,000 then what is the point of going for coaching when you can acquire the exam paper for cheaper?”

He added that a complete overhaul of the system is needed to make the process transparent and fair.

City-based NEET trainer Dr Arvind Goyal added, “The quality of the exam has become poorer over the years. This is why so many students were able to score 100% marks. When CBSE used to conduct the exam, the topper would get around 670 marks. But after the National Testing Agency (NTA) has started conducting the exam, the standard has worsened.”

Goyal added that the fact that there are optional questions in the second section of the exam also leads to students scoring more. “In 2015, the NEET exam had to be conducted again after similar allegations of paper leak. This must be done again this year,” he added. Even the NEET UG retest in the city had none of the two applicants appear for the exam. Experts claimed that this also points to the fact that it was not just a simple case of awarding grace marks and there is more than what meets the eye in this case.

When the NEET result was announced, Om Vats of Maloya was delighted at scoring 715 out of 720, even though he also found it a bit odd that his rank was 192 after just missing out on one question.

Now with the controversy going on, his father, Pawan Sharma, said he hated turning on the TV, as all the time the NEET controversy was shown on the news channels. “My son had spent so much effort, waking up at 4 am at times to study but we are feeling disappointed with how this paper leaked. We are from a modest background and Om was able to crack the exam without many of the advantages that more privileged people get like coaching and the best schools.”

He added that they will still try to get admission in AIIMS, New Delhi, as the same score last year would have fetched him AIR 19. “Om has already started preparing again for the exam in the hope that the court directs that the exam be reconducted. It should be reconducted in states where there are allegations of exam leak,” he added.

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