National Doctor's Day: As compromised NEET exams leave future doctors in limbo, one such medico shares his views

Amid the NEET exam controversy, aspiring doctors face uncertainty. They share their struggles, highlighting the need for exam integrity and reform
Indian Youth Congress protests alleged NEET scam
Indian Youth Congress protests alleged NEET scam

Today, July 1, the country is celebrating National Doctor's Day, a day dedicated to honouring those who have dedicated their lives to saving others. However, the path to this noble profession seems to be in jeopardy, especially in recent times. 

The entrance exam for medical admissions in India, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), is currently under heavy scrutiny for alleged unfair conduct and scams. These allegations have led to protests in several cities, court cases, and political disputes.

The NEET-UG 2024 results, declared on June 4, stirred numerous controversies as they revealed irregularities, especially an unusual surge in ranks. The results, which were announced ten days before the scheduled date without prior intimation, led to reports of paper leaks and the awarding of grace marks. 

Notably, 67 students achieved a perfect score of 720, an unprecedented event in NTA's history, with six of these students coming from a single centre in Faridabad, Haryana, raising further suspicions. Now, owing to the re-test conducted for those allotted grace marks, the number of toppers is 61 but remains unreasonably high. 

Following the NEET-UG controversy, NEET-PG was also cancelled due to alleged paper leaks. These developments lead to one crucial question — is the future of medical studies and medicine in India at stake?

As the students and political leaders demand the re-conduct of the test, among other demands, EdexLive has reached out to medical students and also aspirants who took the test this year to hear their opinions on the significance and integrity of the medical profession amid all the public discourse on the sanctity of the exam.

Priyansu Priyabrata, an aspiring doctor, shared why he aspires to become a doctor and said, “I saw how patients during COVID were dying due to lack of treatment. They were so helpless. That’s when I thought of becoming  a doctor.” 

However, despite hard work and good scores, Priyabrata remains disillusioned with his results. “I prepared well and scored good marks but was shocked when I saw the rank. I was hoping for a rank between 3,000 - 4,000 according to the marks and analysis but ended up with a rank of over 18,000. That’s where I thought something was wrong,” he said.

Priyabrata demands a re-NEET.

“People who studied well will definitely get better marks and ranks. It’s unfair that meritorious students have to go through this”, he added. He was concerned about the delay of the new academic session if the exam was to be reconducted.

In addition to the concerns raised by Priyabrata, a few students fear that compromising the integrity of the exam could lead to a decline in the quality of medical education and future healthcare providers.

“These students are supposed to save lives in future, the exams must not be compromised. If they have not studied the concepts well, imagine the healthcare system we’ll have in 10-15 years”, said Sameer Sahu, an MBBS student at SCB Medical College, Odisha. Sameer is in the last year of his MBBS and wants to appear for NEET-PG after one year.

Speaking on NEET-PG, which was cancelled less than 12 hours before the exam, he added, "The aspirants are well into their late 20s and have finished MBBS along with mandatory internship. They have family pressure and responsibilities. If it is happening to them, it can happen to us as well.” 

He was concerned about the workload on PG students due to the lack of doctors. “I have seen seniors working multiple shifts without breaks. There are cases of suicides also. There should be fixed weekly hours for students.” Increasing violence against doctors, if they fail to save lives or are unable to tend to the patients immediately, was a grave issue he spoke about. Stricter action should be taken against the culprits.

“The number of patients per doctor is too high. To produce more doctors, we need to increase the seats in medical colleges,” he continued. 

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