Offline NEET exam on Sunday: PG medical aspirants seek Maharashtra leaders’ help
Amid growing concern over offline examinations at a time when several states, including Maharashtra, are reporting record Covid-19 cases on a daily basis, MBBS graduates are a worried lot. While entrance exams for most undergraduate (UG) professional courses are planned for the end of this month or May, the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for postgraduate (PG) medical students is scheduled to take place across the country on Sunday (April 18).
With no word from the National Board of Examination (NBE) Tuesday, students are approaching state leaders, hoping for relief.
Several PG medical aspirants, most of who are currently working at various hospitals across the state and country, have appealed to state medical education minister Amit Deshmukh that the entrance exam be postponed.
“We [MBBS graduates] have been working day and night at various government and private hospitals across the state and many of our friends have also contracted the virus in the process. How are we expected to appear for an offline exam at a time when the state is planning to impose another lockdown?” said Manusha Patil, a NEET-PG applicant who is currently working at a make-shift jumbo centre in Pune.
Last year, 160,000 NEET-PG aspirants of the 167,000 registered candidates had appeared for the exam. The total registrations for NEET-PG 2021 have not been revealed as yet.
Several other students had also approached NBE, requesting authorities to postpone the NEET-PG exam.
But in a statement released on NBE website earlier this week, the exam-conducting authority clarified that the entrance exam cannot be delayed any further.
“Considering the importance of the examination in admitting PG students in their respective subjects for further training, it is in the best interest of candidates to continue to hold this examination on the announced date,” said a statement released on April 9. NBE, however, has assured students of added protective measures to ensure the exam is conducted smoothly.
For instance, NBE has increased the total number of exam centres to ensure social distancing and also so that students do not have to travel far for the exam. Students are also being issued admit cards for the test along with an e-pass to ensure they are not stopped by authorities amid restrictions while traveling on the day of exam. Centres will also have a special isolation ward for students who record above normal temperature at the time of entering the exam centre.
NBE also advised candidates feeling unwell or showing any symptoms to avoid appearing for the exam altogether.