Medical students upset by repeated exam changes

Lakhs of medical aspirants in the country are left facing mid-course changes in their preparations after the Supreme Court decided to quash the single-window National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).

Rajlaxmi Iyer, a class XII student in Mumbai, said, "Last year, there were apprehensions about whether Maharashtra will adopt NEET. Months after it was accepted, the test has got cancelled. Most students start preparing for entrance examinations in class XI. We will now have to make major adjustments to our preparation methods."

Students in Maharashtra are also upset because NEET was based onNCERT syllabus of classes XI and XII, whereas the state's MHT-CET is based on state board curriculum of class XII. Although the state board too has adopted most of NCERT course outline, the syllabus for NEET was more extensive. So, many pupils spent months studying topics that may no longer be important for the admission process.

"The government should stop experimenting on students and study all the legalities before implementing any new system," said a parent. Added Aakash Chaudhry, director of Aakash Educational Services: "Students have to go through unnecessary stress due to such changes."

Chirag Shah, a postgraduate student, had to undergo a testing time this year with the implementation of NEET for PG admissions. "The court case delayed our entrance test results by three months, in turn delaying admissions," said Shah.

Another student said a uniform test is the only way to ensure a fair admission process: "Seats in PG courses are often sold for crores, which could have been avoided with a centralised process."

A section of educationists too were dismayed by the verdict. Dr Vivek Korde, president and founder of the Forum Against Commercialisation of Education, said the decision means that "students will have to take multiple entrance tests. Also, as in the past, private colleges will have a free run and we may see a lot of malpractice in selection processes".

The state government, however, claimed that they benefited with NEET's implementation. Minister of state for medical education D P Sawant maintained that more students qualified for medical and dental seats in the state through NEET as compared to MHT-CET. Nevertheless, after the apex court order, the state will have to go back to its original testing process.

Pravin Shingare, director, directorate of medical education and research, said the notification for next year's CET will be out in eight days. "There will not be any change in the MHT-CET exam. The pattern will remain the same as the ones before 2013."

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