After NEET-PG, medical aspirants now demand postponement of NEET-UG 2022

The NEET-UG 2022 exam is scheduled to be held on July 17. Both freshers and drop-outs who are appearing for the exam this year have pointed out the problems with the selected date
This is why they are demanding this | (Pic: EdexLive)
This is why they are demanding this | (Pic: EdexLive)

The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) has again sparked concerns among the students. The candidates appearing for NEET-UG 2022 have demanded that the exam be postponed. The issue has been taken up by some student organisations and prominent figures as well, especially on social media. Students have also sent representations to the government authorities and asked them to consider the postponement.

The NEET-UG 2022 exam is scheduled to be held on July 17. One of the main concerns regarding the selected date lies with the candidates who had dropped out. “These students waited till the last counselling was completed. The counselling was delayed and then there are two rounds. After the counselling for the All India Rounds, the State Rounds are held. This year, they were delayed till late April. And the exams are in July. So, the students are getting only two months to prepare, whereas they usually have 4-6 months' time. Two months is insufficient as the syllabus is huge and also unlike JEE (Joint Entrance Exam), NEET is conducted once a year, so students get only one chance,” said Himanshu Borah, student activist and President of AIJNSA (All India JEE-NEET Students' Association).

Why are they demanding it
“NEET-UG 2021 exam was held on September 12 and the paper was difficult. The exam was delayed and so were the results, which were declared on November 30. This led to delayed counselling and the counselling actually started around the time when classes for the new batch usually start. Whereas the application and exam dates are notified well in advance in general. This year, the notice came all of a sudden early in April for the 2022 exam. By this time, the counselling for 2021 was not over. The mid-rankers found it difficult, as they had to wait till the last round was completed. I am a mid-ranker and now I have only two months to prepare. NMC (National Medical Commission) has notified that classes cannot begin before February 2023, so the exam can be delayed too,” said Ankit Kumar, a NEET aspirant, and member of the All India Students' Union (AISU).

“The second concern lies with the freshers – those students who have just completed their XII Boards and are appearing for NEET-UG for the first time. Most of them are appearing for CUET (Common University Entrance Test) as well. Mid-July has been declared as the tentative date for CUET. This means that it is around the same time that NEET will be conducted. The students will get very less time to prepare for either exam. Though the syllabus is almost the same, the exam patterns are very different, so it will be an issue,” Himanshu explained.

“According to a poll that we had conducted, there are about eighteen lakh candidates appearing for NEET-UG. Out of these, 33% are freshers. So, this concerns a large number of students,” he added.

“The dates for NEET-UG and CUET probably clash. One of my friends who is appearing for CUET said that the centres for both the exams are different for him. He has to travel far to write both the exams, as there is no centre in his district. For NEET he has to travel to one place and for CUET to another. So, a clash will be a huge problem for him and for students like him. Also, there is no clarity on the CUET dates because of which students are suffering,” Ankit said.

“The students who had the PCMB combination (Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology) as their subjects in 10+2 are going to appear for JEE and NEET. The JEE Mains exam got postponed this year and now there is only a 4-5 days gap between this exam and NEET. Whereas students have to practice Maths for JEE, they have to study Biology for NEET. They need proper time for this transition and prepare for the exams, which is not happening now,” Himanshu said.

“Due to the postponement of JEE, the dates are clashing with NEET and it is a problem,” Ankit added.

Tweets from Twitterverse 
The issue has seen outcry on social media, especially Twitter. The #MODIJIdeferNEETUG hashtag is trending on the platform. AISU (@Official_AISU) tweeted, “Students across the country have wrote a letter to @rashtrapatibhvn with their concerns regarding NEET UG. #NTAdeferNEETUG2022 #NTAdelayNEETUG_givejustice.”

Another tweet by AIJNSA (@AIJNSA_official) reads, “It's been months since #NEETUG2022 Aspirants requesting @DG_NTA. It's high time now. Ample time for preparations should be given. #NTAdeferNEETUG is a genuine demand need to be addressed anon. #MODIJIdeferNEETUG I'll keep raising this issue till the end. #NTApostponeNEETUG.” 

Activist lawyer Anubha Sahai (@anubha1812) also tweeted, “#MODIJIdeferNEETUG Is still trending @PMOIndia kindly intervene. We can give them more time to prepare as the next academic session will not begin before Feb 2023 This will help lakhs of #NEETUG2022 aspirants,” stating that the students have pointed out “very logical reasons” for the postponement. “The previous batch’s counselling got delayed and in some states, it is still going on.

So, the July 2022 batch counselling and academic schedule will be pushed ahead anyway, as I don’t think there is infrastructure and academic wherewithal to run both batches concurrently,” said Sahai. “So if everything is going to get delayed anyway, then why not delay the entrance exam too? This will give students some extra time to prepare,” she said, as per a TOI report.

“Since the matter involves students from around the country, we cannot hold a protest. But we have taken it online and it has gathered a good number of supporters. We held a Twitter storm a week ago and on June 7, we got about 2 lakh tweets on the issue,” said Navneet Singh, the National General Secretary of AISU.

The organisation has also sent written representations to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Union Education and Health Ministers and to the Education Minister of Bihar, enumerating their demands and reasons. Navneet also informed that AISU has sent a petition to the President on the matter.

“We have already submitted a representation to the PMO. And more than nine thousand students have written to the NTA (National Testing Agency), which conducts the NEET exam. But there have been no updates or clarification from NTA. It has just ignored the students,” Himanshu said.

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