Published: 24th January 2018
Over two lakh students tense as MHRD and MCI spar over whether they can write NEET
The MCI had announced that NIOS students will not have the chance to appear for NEET as they are not on "par" with regular students
The MHRD after a meeting with the Health Ministry has allegedly decided to reverse the MCI's decision to debar students enrolled with the National Institute of Open Schooling claiming that it was against the government policy on "equal learning and opportunities". This comes on the heels on an MCI directive that NIOS students could not appear for NEET 2018. As many as 3000 NIOS students applied for NEET in 2017.
The National Institute of Open Schooling was started to create more educational access to children in rural areas. Besides rural areas, NIOS encourages students who come from difficult backgrounds to keep up their studies while also managing jobs or come from challenging backgrounds where students are unable to physically go and attend classes. Debarring these students would be unfair as they who might not have had the same opportunities as those who go to regular schools.
The Medical Council of India deemed the students to be less qualified than those who go to regular schools and receive normal training. The decision would have led to over two lakh students not being allowed to attempt the National Eligibility Entrance Examination on May 8. The MCI felt that a distance mode education was not the equivalent of a regular education. Over 3000 students had enrolled to attempt NEET last year, out of which over 800 had qualified for a seat.
According to a senior official from the MCI quoted by news agencies it was not 'justified' that open school students were enjoying the privilege of writing NEET because they did not receive the same practical training, “There were three points on which the decision was taken—stream, curriculum and duration of the course vis-a-vis regular students. Since the NIOS syllabus does not have a practical component, they can't be matched with regular students.”
The official statement is, however, still awaited.