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New Delhi: Last Monday, when Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin made a oath In the state assembly, seeking exemption from NEET, his government relied on a report submitted by a nine-member committee headed by Justice AK Rajan (retired).
The committee submitted its 165-page report on the impact of NEET in Tamil Nadu to the government on 14 September; its contents made public Monday.
According to the report, the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduate medical seats will take Tamil Nadu back to the pre-independence days, “when only barefoot doctors were serving patients in small towns and villages”.
It also states that Tamil Nadu as a state will go down in rank among states in the medical and healthcare system.
The report further states that the exam in its current form discriminates against poor, Tamil medium students and does not provide equal opportunities for students from financial backgrounds.
Read also: Why is Tamil Nadu not the first state to oppose NEET since its implementation?
NEET is not a ‘criteria’ based exam
The committee in its analysis compared NEET with existing ‘norms’ based exams like Educational Aptitude Test (SAT), having common standards and common curriculum.
“A criteria-based test designed to assess students’ performance against a certain set of predetermined standards or criteria, which is used at the secondary education level to assess whether students have achieved knowledge have achieved a specific body of knowledge or a specific skill set,” it says.
As an example, the committee points out that since the implementation of NEET, the enrollment of students from CBSE has been high. Describing the examination as “CBSE biased”, the report said, “The results have consistently proved that CBSE stream students secured 26.83 per cent MBBS seats in 2020-21, up from 0% in 2015-16 in government medical colleges.” and 12.01 per cent.% in 2020-21 from a negligible 0.07% in 2015-16 in self-financed colleges in this high-share exam.
The committee also mentioned the validity tests conducted in international exams like MCAT, UCAT and SAT. These tests are conducted from time to time to ensure their credibility in predicting the future performance of the students in the college. The committee claimed that no such examination was conducted for NEET in the last four years, and thus there is no predictive data to show the success in higher education of students who have qualified NEET.
Merit Based Admission Vs Coaching
The analysis conducted by the committee found that 99 per cent of the students who got admission in medical colleges in 2019-20 had received prior training or coaching before appearing in NEET. Most of them had given the exam again and again to get admission in MBBS. Many of them are being trained from class 8 onwards, the report said, adding that students are being mentally prepared to focus on the NEET exam.
The committee has argued that this takes away from the holistic education required of the students.
The committee also found that the annual income of parents of about 97 per cent of government school students was less than Rs 1,00,000 per annum. “In such a situation, when coaching demands Rs 3 lakh per year, how can they prepare their children for NEET? Extensive literature findings also confirm that parents’ income plays a major role in their children’s education.
4 years of neet
The report in its observation found that the percentage of rural students declined from 65.17 percent in the pre-NEET year in 2016-17 to 49.91 percent in 2020-21.
The number of Tamil medium students allotted MBBS seats also declined from 14.88 per cent in 2016-17 to just 1.99 per cent in 2020-21. The data collected by the committee also found that the enrollment of students in state boards has declined after the implementation of NEET.
“The steadily increasing student size in HSC has come down to 12.7% from 2011 to 2017 with a reduction in student size of 113,322 between 2017 and 2020 in the post-NEET period.”
In addition, it was also found that students now prefer to study in English medium classes instead of Tamil. “The size of Tamil medium students decreased by 24.8%, while the size of English medium increased to 8.4% between the period 2017 and 2020,” the report said.
To aid its argument of an increase in CBSE students in medical colleges after NEET, the study said, “There has been a massive 22.66 per cent increase in the admission of CBSE board students to government seats in the post-NEET period. From just 0.1% in Pre-NEET, while the admission rate of TNBSE students in government colleges fell from 70.11 percent in Pre-NEET to 46.77 percent post-NEET.
According to the committee, this shows that the introduction of NEET as the sole criterion for admission to medical colleges has adversely affected the share of seats historically secured by state board students. But it worked positively for CBSE students. Also, the growing inclination towards applying for MBBS among TNBSE applicants in the post-NEET period shows that NEET is a major hurdle that gradually prevents them from taking admission in medical colleges.
(Edited by Arun Prashant)
Read also: JEE scam and NEET ban is a failure of the current system. But tough questions lie ahead
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