NEET-PG: Mumbai Doctors Devastated By Last-Minute Cancellation

NEET-PG: Mumbai Doctors Devastated By Last-Minute Cancellation

Many doctors, who didn’t take new job offers due to preparations, are now staring at uncertainty.

Megha ChowdhuryUpdated: Tuesday, June 25, 2024, 09:01 AM IST
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Mumbai: Shocked, frustrated and depressed—that’s the condition of an estimated two lakh National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Postgraduate (NEET-PG) students who learned on Saturday night that the Sunday exam was cancelled for the third time this year.

The National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences (NBE) issued a notice on June 22, officially postponing the NEET-PG 2024 exam. The announcement left aspiring doctors, some already employed in hospitals and others currently unemployed, feeling deeply unsettled and angry.

The cancellation notices reached candidates in various ways: some were informed at their exam centres, others through social media or news outlets.

The uncertainty has been particularly challenging for Dr Atiya Rehmani, who left her hospital job last December to prepare for the exams initially scheduled for March.

"Now, jobless, I cannot commit to new employment due to the unpredictability surrounding the exam dates," says Dr Rehmani from Navi Mumbai, adding that her family had delayed her marriage plans because of the exams.

It's a double shock for Dr Rehmani, as her brother, Rayan, had appeared for the NEET-UG examination. “Don’t know which is more shocking, the UG controversy or the PG exam cancellation.”

Doctors' associations expressed their discontent with the decision, saying that the country's education system has been “destroyed.” 

Dr Lakshya Mittal, the National President of the United Doctors Front Association (UDFA), who has been handling numerous calls from anxious aspirants, said that after the NEET-UG irregularities and paper leaks, there is no faith in the National Testing Agency (NTA), despite the government’s move to remove the director general Subodh Kumar Singh and replace him with Pradeep Singh Kharola.

“India’s medical education has been destroyed. This abrupt change, following the NEET-UG scam, underscores a deeply troubling pattern in handling medical examinations and the overall medical education system in India,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) should intervene and take strict action on the exam-conducting bodies.

“The entire education system is collapsing,” Dr Mittal alleged.

He said he is more worried that India’s image would be tarnished. “Many Indian doctors go abroad to study or work. Our doctors would find it difficult abroad after news of paper leaks and irregularities in medical exams. I fear they will be considered fake degree holders,” said Dr Mittal.

Travelling from Satara to Mumbai, a 24-year-old aspirant faced heartbreak mere hours before her scheduled exam. Having dedicated a year of intensive preparation, she was left in disbelief upon learning of the postponement

“She can’t speak. We are trying to motivate her,” said her mother, who is a doctor too. 

“She burst into tears upon hearing the postponement. She prepared for over a year, enduring sleepless nights” her mother said, on condition of anonymity

Sahil, who chose not to disclose his last name, had just settled in for a last-minute review when news of the exam delay reached him. “I was desperately checking everywhere and calling friends to confirm,” he recounted.

“I had planned to wake up at 4.30 am. My friends were still uncertain if we should head to the centre or not. The last 15-20 days were the hardest, and now we have to face that period again,” the young doctor added.

“I feel like I’ve wasted an entire year. I have nothing left and can’t even revise,” shared another aspirant, who wants to remain anonymous, unsure how to face her parents. 

“I’ve already taken two gap years; I don’t know how I’ll convince them for another. I’m at a loss,” she added.

Around three lakh candidates were supposed to appear for the NEET-PG this year. The new date for the exam has not been announced yet. 

This comes weeks after the results of the NEET-UG 2024 exam sparked a major row over alleged irregularities in the marking system of the medical entrance test.

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