13.36 lakh students sign up for NEET 2018
Competition for seats in undergraduate medical and dental courses across India is set to get tougher with the total registrations for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) increasing by almost two lakh.
According to figures revealed by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), over 13.36 lakh hopefuls have registered for NEET 2018, up from 11.5 lakh who had registered in 2017. The total number of seats in MBBS and BDS institutes across the country stands at 60,000. Experts have attributed this increase in registrations to a number of reasons, including more states opting for NEET scores instead of their Common Entrance Tests (CETs) to fill seats for all health science courses. They also attribute the rise to an overall increase in number of students clearing Class 12 exams every year.
“Various policies and scholarships made available by the Central government as well as state governments have encouraged a higher number of students clearing secondary and higher secondary education across the country. We anticipate an increase on the basis of this reason every year,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER).
The registrations stood at 7.5 lakh in 2016 when NEET was conducted in two phases. NEET was first introduced in May 2013 and was quickly scrapped in 2014, making way for separate CETs for admissions to medical and dental institutes in each state.
In 2016, the Supreme Court made NEET mandatory.
Keeping this in mind, the Maharashtra medical education department decided to scrap CET, making NEET compulsory for all students aiming for seats in all health science courses. In the past year, more states have been encouraging institutes to consider NEET scores to help get rid of numerous entrance examinations and reduce the burden on students. “Students have realized that NEET is more important than state-conducted CETs. More and more of them have been opting for NEET. Sadly, the number of seats is still very limited and the competition gets tougher,” said Aruna Roy, parent of an MBBS aspirant.CBSE has already started distributing admit cards. NEET (UG) 2018 will be conducted in 11 languages on May 6.