Doctors and students have batted for an entrance test for medical studies on Wednesday, a day after the Supreme Court dismissed a plea opposing the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) campaign in Tamil Nadu, advocating for the elimination of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical college admissions across India.
"Having an entrance exam is crucial", said Aishani Agrawal, a second-year student at Dr DY Patil Dental College & Hospital. She further suggested that the exam should focus on biology, as physics and chemistry might not be directly relevant to medical studies.
Agrawal argued that many students lack interest in these subjects, and studying them solely for the entrance exam serves no purpose. She emphasised the need for a filter, as the 12th-grade board exams are relatively easy, and admission based solely on them may compromise the quality of students pursuing medical education.
Dr Sparsh Kamble, a veterinarian who took the NEET exam five years ago, highlighted the strenuous nature of the exam. He pointed out that proper preparation takes a year or two, and with clear basics and good coaching, it shouldn't pose a significant challenge.
He expressed concern about potential political agendas behind the push for NEET abolition, questioning the absence of a clear replacement plan and the feasibility of admitting students based solely on 12th-grade merit.
Dr Shailesh A Jha, a consulting general surgeon at Dalia Ayurved Medical College and Hospital, Gujarat, stressed the importance of NEET, stating, "We require this examination. Without it, how can we admit students for academic sessions, especially for medical purposes?"
He emphasised that NEET serves as a crucial tool to assess and characterise students, determining their eligibility for medical courses.
Dr Jha also pointed out that without such exams, evaluating a student's qualification for a medical course becomes impractical.
Justice Surya Kant and K V Viswanathan’s bench underscored the significance of nationwide competitive exams, emphasising their role in maintaining academic standards while dismissing the petition that sought a directive to prohibit the DMK’s signature campaign against the NEET in schools.
The DMK has been opposing the NEET alleging language barrier, disadvantage to students from rural areas and curriculum diversity.
The DMK started its signature campaign in October, aiming to collect 50 lakh signatures in 50 days to support the abolition of NEET
What is NEET?
NEET, previously known as the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), is a nationwide entrance examination. It is designed for students aspiring to pursue undergraduate courses in medical (MBBS), dental (BDS), and AYUSH (BAMS, BUMS, BHMS, etc.) fields. NEET (UG) facilitates admissions into both government and private institutions in India. Additionally, it serves as a qualifying test for individuals planning to obtain primary medical qualifications abroad.