If things go according to the plans of the Tamil Nadu government, students aspiring to get admission in medical colleges might not be forced to write the national entrance exam NEET from next year. Instead, their admission will be based on the marks obtained in Class 12.
The development comes as the TN government passed a new bill that called for the elimination of NEET. Nevertheless, the bill needs the approval of the President of India to become an Act and come into effect as it opposes a central law.
If Ram Nath Kovind does sign the bill, Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses will see TN students getting admitted into any college without appearing for the national exam but rather being awarded seats on the Class 12 scorecards.
Though this can also be implemented from next year after the green signal comes through, it will be a major turning event for the thousands of lower-income group students who cannot afford private tuition classes.
It all started after NEET became mandatory for students of every state to obtain admission in medical colleges across the country. Tamil Nadu, for almost a decade, gave seats to students with their class 12 marks as the criteria- without any entrance exam. The DMK had secured the Presidential assent for exemption when the UPA ruled the Centre. However, after the BJP came into power, the AIADMK could not manage to get its ally’s nod.
Tamil Nadu has since always been against national entrance exams as its Dravidian parties said that they became a benefit to the rich and a boon to the poor. This was due to the fact that national exam private coaching classes often come at a huge price tag, which cannot be afforded by lower-middle-class students.
To avoid the unjust process, TN Chief Minister MK Stalin formed a committee in June this year. Led by retired Justice AK Rajan, the committee studied the effects of NEET and mushrooming coaching centres on students and their careers.
Upon finding the results, the government decided to opt-out of NEET immediately. The study showed that students from the urban and rural areas alike with families earning less than Rs 2.5 lakh annually were facing the wrath of the national entrance exam system, including those from the Tamil-medium schools.
No hindrance to the process would result in a heavy impact to the healthcare system of the state with insufficient doctors in Primary Health Centres to aid the sick.
According to a study done 4 years before and after the implementation of NEET in TN, there was a 10-time reduction in students passing the exam- from 380 to a mere 40. On the other hand, CBSE students scored massively well in the exam with a nearly 70 times increase- from 3 to 200. Majority of these students had studied at private tuitions.
The new proposal by the TN government was welcome by all parties in the state assembly, except the BJP. Supporting the Bill, opposition AIADMK’s former health minister Dr C Vijaya Baskar said, “We are supporting this. Let’s see if this strategy works.”