From the coming academic year (2012-13) students aspiring to become medicos need not prepare and write numerous entrance examinations for admission into medical colleges, as the Medical Council of India (MCI) has taken a revolutionary step to bring all entrance examinations under one roof. MCI will be conducting National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), for admission into undergraduate, postgraduate and super speciality levels, nationwide.
At present the students write about 15 -20 eligibility tests, especially in the UG level, such as EAMCET, JIPMER, AFMC and the numerous other CETs for each State and deemed universities.
This part is being taken care off by NEET, and the students can apply to any of the medical colleges across India, based on their NEET score.
The student and the teaching communities are happy about that aspect, but the overall reaction comes as a mixed bag.
The former principal of Andhra Medical College C.V. Rao says, “Tamil Nadu has already brought an interim stay from the High Court against the MCI's move. The State has already passed a legislation abolishing entrance tests for professional courses. In the case of Andhra Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir- the States have not agreed to join the national club. In which case, students from these two States do not qualify for the 15 per cent category reserved for students from other States. Neither the students from these two States can study in a college outside the state and nor the students from other States can get admission in a college in these states. This would affect us in the long run,” says the former principal.
Santosh a student of AMC adds, “NEET is just like the IIT-JEE or AIEEE examinations. But for us it has no meaning, as we cannot join a premier institute like AIIMS, AFMC or JIPMER, despite getting a good rank, since our State is not in the national club. We understand that, though the examination will be only one, the counselling is going to be separate, for us. I think it should be equated with the IIT or AIEEE set-up, as it is going to be a nationwide examination. Most importantly- ‘the one examination concept' saves us both time and money.”
The Superintendent of King George Hospital G. Santa Rao is of the similar opinion.
“As it is, the region system (Osmania University - Andhra University and Sri Venkateswara University) breaks the bonding and makes us feel like aliens within the State, and now by not joining the national club we are further deepening the divide lines. NEET is a good move, as it gives an opportunity for the medicos to become better doctors. They get the chance to study in a multi-cultural environment. It gives an opening to expand our horizon and thinking. Welcome NEET, and get into the national club, as the best should have the best opportunities. Our students do well in the global environment, so why restrict them at the national level. Let the best study in the best institutes,” says Dr. Santa Rao.
Welcoming the ‘one examination' set-up, many of the professional colleges feel that the proposed syllabus will put the students from Andhra Pradesh to disadvantage, especially the ones who follow the State syllabus.
“The proposed syllabus, drafted by the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) is based on Std XI and XII of CBSE. Though they claim that the syllabus is revised, it is actually five years old. And there is a huge difference between the State's Intermediate syllabus and the CBSE, especially concerning the subject of biology. And that should be the problem for all the States. Before drafting the syllabus, both MCI and NCERT should have consulted the leading educational institutions from all the States,” says the State Coordinator (Medical stream) of Narayana Educational Institutions Jaganmohan Rao.
He also points out that a major reform like the NEET cannot be announced midway of an academic year. “The students have just got about seven months to prepare. And most importantly nothing has been said so far about the vernacular medium. Last year about 60,000 attempted the EAMCET (medical) and out of which 20,000 were from the Telugu medium background. Now how will MCI addresses this issue remains to be seen,” points out Jaganmohan Rao.
The chairman of Sri Gayatri Educational Institutions P.V.R.K. Murthy adds, “the difference in biology subject alone exceeds over 60 per cent. We have rabbit anatomy and the NEET syllabus talks of human anatomy.
The difference in physics and chemistry exceeds 15 per cent. Most importantly, the NCERT books are printed in English and this would be huge problem for the students from the rural and Telugu medium background. Moreover, there is also no clarity on the Intermediate weightage marks.
Whether the marks will be considered or not, and if how it will be done?
Will there be a normalisation process like the BITS-Pilani or go by as it is,” says Mr. Murthy.