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Guest column | Do the NEET-ful, don’t produce half-baked doctors

We should start thinking about maintaining quality rather than quantity. NEET will be a sieve that will identify students who have an aptitude for the medical profession.

education Updated: Sep 11, 2017 14:48 IST
Medical education,NEET,doctors
Students need to be imparted same level of competency in terms of knowledge, domain and skills.(Representative image )

Human biology anywhere in the universe is similar. It implies that the knowledge pertaining to its healthcare is also to be standardised. Therefore, students need to be imparted same level of competency in terms of knowledge, domain and skills. Though the brainpower of a human being is enormous, one of the most brilliant persons ever, Albert Einstein, used only 0.5% of this power. Therefore, it can be concluded that most of us use only a fraction of the brain’s capacity to memorise and reflect in terms of skills. The medical curriculum does not require a brilliant brain, but a person who has the capacity to work hard the entire life vis-à-vis any other profession, because it requires total commitment to work in the field of healthcare.

Quality is the key

Now, if we look at the level of healthcare in our country, it is desired that all doctors graduating from medical colleges must have basic knowledge of the medical sciences. It is on this that he or she has to build a career by doing specialisation or super-specialisation.

Taking the plea that students in some remote areas are still not able to cope with the minimum required knowledge for the entrance means are proposing to induct unbaked or half-baked students in a profession, which deals with matters of life and death of human beings? It’s high time that we should start thinking about maintaining quality rather than only focusing on quantity. The National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) shall be a sieve that will identify students who have an aptitude for the medical profession and eventually it shall remain upon the teachers to shape them into good doctors.

Check on private colleges

In order to identify the desired level of students, NEET has been introduced with a careful thought only to mitigate the malpractices existing in our country in admitting students to medical colleges. Even with NEET, it has been observed that dubious means are used by private colleges to fleece students for admissions. It is also unfortunate that under the guise of developing infrastructure, fee in private colleges has been enormously increased.

With the introduction of NEET, the hassle of appearing in examinations on different dates and different places, which used to be cumbersome for both students as well as parents, has been mitigated. It has also set a benchmark in terms of admissions across the country.

By bringing private universities and deemed universities under the ambit of common and centralised counselling, the practice of capitation has been done away with to some extent. But the erring institutions have adopted other means such as increasing fee rather than taking capitation, which needs to be examined by the Supreme Court so the this menace is mitigated. It is sad when a deserving candidate is unable to pay the fee and is devoid of getting admissions to a medical college.

All institutions under one umbrella

NEET has also brought minority institutions under one umbrella as they were using different scales to admit students on their own whims and fancies. The plea by students for a question paper in their local language knowing well that modern medicine across the world is practiced in English has also been discarded by the Supreme Court.

By observing the success of NEET-UG and PG, the Supreme Court has instructed the National Board of Examination to conduct Super Specialist Entrance Test also through a single window, ie NEET. We have observed that the admission process following NEET examination, particularly the mop-up round as well as the criteria for leftover seats, has remained variable in different states, which also needs to be rectified. This will make the admission process more transparent.

No seat to remain vacant

NEET was also supplemented with instructions to deposit fee only to nodal agencies conducting centralised counselling. Its emphasis not to leave any seat vacant in the all-India quota by preventing students from leaving seats after the second round of counselling has proved to be a fair decision. Impact of NEET can certainly be improved if the methods are adopted to prevent dummy admissions in schools and to have multiple domiciles. The clause of domicile can also be strengthened by taking students, who instead of doing 10+2 from particular place, should have done 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th from the same state.

(The writer is vice-chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, and chairman, monitoring committee, Medical Council of India)

First Published: Sep 11, 2017 13:16 IST