Language muddle mars medical test in Kolkata

Hundreds of candidates taking the unified medical entrance test at various centres in Kolkata were in a rude shock on Sunday when they were given question papers in English even though they had opted to answer in Bengali.

Scores of candidates taking the unified medical entrance test in Kolkata were in for a rude shock on Sunday. At several centres, only English question papers were distributed. Candidates seeking to take the test in Bengali were asked to answer the English questions or skip the test.

Several candidates alleged that invigilators said that since the test was being conducted nationally - for the first time this year - Bengali question papers were not available.

"We had filled in our applications seeking to take the test in Bengali. It was clearly mentioned in the admit card as well. But we were shocked when the question papers were handed out. When we sought to get them changed, we were told that questions would only be in English," said Biswajit Ghosh, a candidate who took the test at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Dum Dum.

The unified entrance test is being conducted by the CBSE. The state medical education department, however, confirmed that Bengali question papers were supposed to be given to each candidate who had applied to take the test in that language. "This (the lapse) is indeed strange, for candidates are supposed to have that option. We have no idea why this has happened for the test is conducted by the CBSE and we have little role to play. But we shall look into the matter," said Susanta Banerjee, director of medical education.

Many of the candidates who had opted to take the test in Bengali complained that they couldn't finish writing because it took them longer to decipher the questions in English. "It was unfair and we had not expected this. At least six students in my room couldn't finish the paper. Will the CBSE take responsibility for this?" asked a candidate.

Till 2012, the CBSE conducted what was called the All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Test (AIPMT). That examination has now been replaced by the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Neet), which has included state medical colleges in its purview.

Earlier, each state used to conduct its own medical entrance test. The Union ministry of healthand family welfare decided to conduct a common entrance test after the Supreme Court asked the government to look into the medical admission process.

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