Published: 06th September 2017
CMC is NOT protesting against NEET, only the single-window counselling: CMC Director Dr Sunil Chandy
Responding to criticism that they have 'shut' their admission down because they were sour about the NEET judgement, CMC Vellore Director Dr Sunil Chandy clarifies the Institute's stand
Reports have led us to believe that CMC, Vellore is admitting only one student to their MBBS programme this academic session because they're unhappy about NEET. The first part of that sentence is true. The second, is apparently not. Clarifying their stance, CMC Director Dr Sunil Thomas Chandy said that their longstanding gripe was against the holding of a single-window counselling process, "We have no objections to NEET. In fact, in 2016, we accepted NEET as the eligibility exam. We admitted 100 students with NEET as the eligibility, but the government did not have an objection to our interviews, there was no common counselling statute at that time," he explained and added, "This year also, our candidates who applied to us wrote NEET. We did not conduct our own written exam, but we insist that we must have our institutional method of interviewing them because that is sacrosanct for our vision."
CMC has a very clear vision statement to admit students from deserving, rural backgrounds to "mould them" into socially relevant doctors. As a part of this, their admission process involved nominations from parent bodies, based on which deserving students were weighed against their social potential and the marks that they had procured. Dr Chandy has made his views clear here.
CMC is not against NEET. We have accepted NEET. We have had it for two years. They're asking us to comply with comply with common counselling. We will not do that because it completely wrecks the vision and mission of wanting to train students who are to be sent to the rural and disadvantaged areas of the country
Dr Sunil Thomas Chandy, Director, CMC Vellore
These reports have raised a lot of flak, drawing criticism that as a Christian minority institution they are earmarking the seats and not allowing 'meritorious' students to study medicine. He retorted strongly, "Just by having 100 Christian candidates allotted by the government through the process of common counselling or marks, our mission is not fulfilled. We believe that there is more to merit than is defined by marks alone. So we challenged common counselling and that is in the court. It is sub judice. the verdict has not been given and we have got a new date, October 11 in court where the matter will be heard and the verdict will be given." If that does not go in their favour, Siddhant Nair, the only student to be admitted this year, will remain solitary - the first time in 75 years that CMC has not filled its quota of medical seats.
Explaining how this 'admit one student' decision came about, "So what we have appealed is for an exemption from common counselling. But in the process, the deadlines are over. And because we took a decision that we will not comply with common counselling, we have been unable to admit our regular students. Now we have not stopped the course. Every year we have a candidate who has been nominated by the government of India, who is usually the child of a soldier. That candidate came, we admitted him and we have started classes for him," he said gamely.
The ball is now in the court's, well, court, "We are not against the government or the judiciary. We have great faith in the judiciary. We have not been able to conduct our regular admissions despite accepting NEET because we challenged common counselling. Yet, we have as an institution decided to run this year's course as a whole for the one student who was nominated by the government," he said, explaining how the teachers are rallying behind their decision, "Our teachers are determined. We will have regular lectures. He will have all the attention. Usually, it's one lecturer and hundred students. Now it will be 10 lecturers for one student. the point is we want to run the course. We are not against running the course. It's only the common counselling to which we have a philosophical objection, based on our vision and mission. We are waiting patiently for a favourable verdict."