Published: 11th July 2018
Conducting NEET twice a year is a business model that will help coaching institutes get richer
The education activist explains why he thinks that the extra attempts is not going to bring any relief to the students and where the focus should actually be
The MHRD has announced that NEET will be conducted twice a year from 2019 and the tests will be conducted by the newly formed National Testing Agency. The move is a step that the government is taking to ensure more opportunities for students to crack the exam, but not everyone recognises this move as positive. Many agree that NEET will still continue to deprive a lot of students from State syllabus backgrounds and will only help those who are CBSE students or students who can afford coaching.
Prince Gajendra Babu, General Secretary, State Platform for Common School System, says that the decision to conduct the exams twice a year is just going to financially affect the students even further. "Earlier students could attempt the test thrice and now they can attempt it six times but it also means that they have to pay six times. If you look at the admission list, you can see that all the students who have been gotten seats are CBSE students or students who were attempting the exams the second or third time and only because they could afford coaching classes," he explained.
Prince Gajendra Babu
Babu said that this was a money making chance for both the Testing Agency and the coaching centres,"The students are already under so much stress now this will also add on to the stress. Many students' circumstances will not even allow them to take a year and study for the exams." Instead of increasing the number of times you can take the test, Babu says the better thing to do is strengthen schools. "Teachers have to be better equipped to provide better learning for students. Instead what we're doing is setting up coaching centre after coaching centre. So with more tests we're only increasing the business of these coaching classes while our classrooms continue to remain inadequate," he said. By shifting focus from classrooms to coaching rooms, students have no scope for learning how to think creatively or critically
The education activist says he still doesn't understand the need for the student to have medical knowledge before they even get into medicine, "What students need to have is the knowledge of science and an aspiration to study medicine. With NEET we are only killing the aspirations of thousands of children who want to study and have the aptitude to do so but cannot afford coaching classes."
"Teachers have to be better equipped to provide better learning for students. Instead what we're doing is setting up coaching centre after coaching centre. So with more tests we're only increasing the business of these coaching classes while our classrooms continue to remain inadequate," said Prince Gajendra Babu
Citing the example of Dr Muthu Lakshmi Reddy, the founder of the Cancer Institute, Babu explained how the doctor wasn't given an admission in the medical school initially because she was a woman. However,after a few rules were relaxed she finally managed to get a seat and ended up revolutionising cancer treatment in Chennai, "We have to encourage students not just on the basis of "one kind of merit" but also on their dedication to uplift the community - socially and economically."
Babu pointed out that already there has been a drastic drop in the number of students who want to take up science in schools, "Most students are now opting for commerce because they don't even want to attempt NEET. They have already made up their minds about not being able to pass the test. "
NEET is against the federal spirit of the constitution, the activist said, "From three attempts, now student get to attempt the exam six times. This only means that the coaching centres get the chance to make more money and so does the National Testing Agency that conducts the test. This is a business model and nothing else."