Post agreement, UP govt may postpone post-graduate medical entrance exam by 3 weeks

The state government may postpone the UP Post Graduate Medical Entrance Exam for three weeks considering the agreement reached between the striking medical students and district administration. Admitting that district magistrate Anurag Yadav, who was negotiating with thestriking students, has forwarded the proposal to the state government, principal secretary, JP Sharma said the government may take a decision on March 28. But, he stated that till government takes the decision, UPPGMEE would be held as per schedule on March 31.

Medical students had been agitating for last several days demanding cancellation of UPPGMEE. They wanted the government to consider NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) scores for admissions in post graduate medical courses in the state. Organised by the Medical Council of India, NEET was held in November and December 2012 and was later caught in a legal dispute, pending with the apex court and may be decided over the next three weeks. 

After being taken into custody by the district administration, thestriking medical students were detained at the Lucknow reserve police lines. While the ailing students, who took ill due to hunger strike, were hospitalised, student leaders were called for a meeting with DM Anurag Yadav at the police lines. 

In the three hours long meeting, a consensus was achieved when the issues raised by the students were sorted in point-wise. 

At the end of the meeting, the following points were noted and which indicate Uttar Pradesh government's stand on the issue. 

UP is not in favour of NEET: Striking students had been claiming that the UP government had agreed to admit students on the basis of score obtained in NEET. "It has been misconstrued. We were the first to oppose NEET but thought we would give things a chance so that the best interest of the students could be safeguarded. At that point in time, we felt letting students take NEET was good. Later, when the confusion over the issue appeared to be far from a conclusion and the apex court directed states to go ahead with the state exam, we notified about it" said JP Sharma. He clarified that going with NEET would mean losing a significant chunk of seats because they were not recognised. NEET would also limit the possibility of admitting government doctors against diploma courses. 

UP not alone to hold PGMEE: UP is not the only state to be holding its post graduate medical entrance exam. Sources in the medical education department informed that Andra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and CMC Vellore have already organised their entrance exams. In Gujarat, the exam is slated to take place on April 27 but the fate of the exam is not certain as students are agitating against the exam. Notifications have been issued in Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. The states of Bihar and Orissa are also likely to hold their exams soon. States of Assam and Madhya Pradesh notified their state exams but later cancelled it on account of students' protest. Only states of Punjab, Kerala, Air Force Medical College Pune, Manipur and Goa have decided to go ahead with NEET only. The stand of Maharashtra and West Bengal governments is not clear. 

'NEET isn't an umbrella exam': NEET is touted as an umbrella exam that would save students from taking tens of exams in different parts of the country. But senior officials in the medical education department claimed that NEET was not the answer to all other exams. "The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences Chandigarh, JIPMER Pudducherry was holding their separate exams," he stated. Officials also stated that since NEET was replace majority of the exams, a student who misses the chance, would end up wasting the entire year. Citing previous experience, the officials stated that many students from UP who didn't fare well in All India exam were able to get a seat for themselves in the state exam. 

Disagreement over pattern of NEET: The scoring in NEET PG took into account results psychological analysis of each student. The officials in UP believe that the parameter would give a chance for manipulation. They also stated that during the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test(NEET) was observed that many questions given to the students were repeated. Therefore, the difficulty level of the exam deteriorated with each passing day of the exam that took place over two weeks between November 23 and December 6. The officials also said that repetition of questions could not be avoided as the syllabus of a subject is fixed; therefore, there is a limit to how many questions one can cull out of the content. 

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