NIRF Rankings 2021: Resistance to NEET notwithstanding, Tamil Nadu has 10 of 50 top medical colleges in India

Tamil Nadu wants to do away with NEET. Its numbers and mentions in the NIRF rankings seem to be pointing to a bigger picture in the matter
Pic: Edex Live
Pic: Edex Live

The initial dilly-dallying with NEET in 2013 gave way to India’s medical aspirants attempting the singular national level exam for admission in medical and dental courses across the country from 2016. NEET, which had earlier been conducted by the CBSE, has been held under the aegis of the National Testing Agency since it was constituted in 2019. That same year, the National Institution Rankings Framework, awarded three spots to Tamil Nadu in the top medical colleges in the country.

This year, that number has jumped up to 10 (12 if you count the two spots for Pondicherry) out of the top 50 ranked colleges. It is interesting to note this development, given Tamil Nadu’s continuously vehement opposition to NEET, which has seen it introducing a 7.5% quota for government school students to introducing a bill to do away with the national level test altogether for the state this year.

The Tamil Nadu government’s claim in the Supreme Court was that NEET allowed students from “affluent” backgrounds to take up medical courses, because its highly competitive nature means that students need extra coaching to crack it -- something students from poorer families cannot afford. When the apex court insisted that NEET would have to be implemented, the government went down fighting. The previous AIADMK government also announced free coaching classes for NEET and JEE for poor students.

What is interesting is that seven out of the ten medical colleges that rank in the NIRF’s list are private institutions, the exceptions being Annamalai University, Tirunelveli Medical College, and Madras Medical College and Government General Hospital. Christian Medical College, which is ranked an impressive number three in the national rankings for medical colleges, is also a private institution.

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan released the NIRF 2021. Like every other event for the past two years, this too was revealed online on various video and social media platforms. In the sixth edition of the rankings, eight IITs and two national Institutes of Technology (NITs) figured in the top ten engineering institutions in the country. The NIRF ranks education institutes and universities all over India across several parameters including teaching, learning and resources, research and professional practices, graduation outcome outreach and inclusivity, and perception.

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