Aakash Chaudhry, Director, Aakash Educational Services Pvt. Ltd. answers questions that play on the minds of parents and students alike, especially after the major changes brought in by the government
Since its inception in 2012, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Exam or NEET-UG has constantly been in the news and has been eagerly tracked by medical aspirants hailing from all parts of the country. With its own unique ups and downs in the journey to become the solitary medical entrance exam of India, the last building block has now been put in place. Following the recent guideline laid down by the Supreme Court, NEET-UG has replaced the All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT) and all individual MBBS exams conducted by states, colleges, and universities. Also, as a result of collaborative efforts between centre and state entities, the NEET exam will now take place in 8 regional languages (Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil) for the academic session 2017-2018. Admission to MBBS, BDS, PHMS, PAMS will now be based on the NEET score of students.
A common entrance exam based admission will be highly beneficial for the country. It will pave the way for better utilisation of the available infrastructure. Although, adverse effects of the move will be faced by medical aspirants who were aiming for state-level examinations, it will strengthen the educational system of the country in the long haul. With quality of education varying dramatically across the nation, the move will be monumental in eliminating this educational disparity between individual states. It will increase the scope of opportunity for students who were not able to get admission in medical courses despite performing adequately to reserve a seat within some other state.This will ensure that more deserving candidates get admission in medical courses irrespective of their region or language. Further, with students hailing from all across the country, the exam will also strengthen the social fabric of the country and will boost cultural exchange as well as national integrity.
Though, the challenges posed by the exam are limited to the short-term, they cannot be undermined. An abrupt change in the examination pattern will, no doubt, strain students. Given their regional preference, many students do not aim for a national-level examination as it increases the level of difficulty for example while some state level examinations were based on 12th class syllabus only, NEET is based on both 11th and 12th class syllabus. Also, many students choose regional languages as their preferred linguistic mode for the examination. An abrupt change in their language will have a detrimental effect on their exam performance. Although, CBSE will conduct the examination in multiple languages, there still remains substantial room for further diversification of languages in order to cover the vast number of Indian dialects.
The move has also increased the pressure amongst coaching institutes as they are working hard towards ensuring success for their students who have enrolled in different courses. Coaching institutes have hand crafted courses for individual examinations. They prepare students with varying demands – aiming for national as well as regional exams – according to a structured module. These modules not only include a single year preparation course, but also courses starting at a foundation level.
Since the move, coaching institutes are devising methods for training state-level students according to the national NEET exam to ensure their success in a significantly short period of time. Yet, the move will benefit coaching institutes, especially the ones that cater to students on a national scale, in the longer haul. With their human resources spread on a national level, such coaching institutes will be able to channelize their entire focus on a single examination. This will, as a result, help them to devise better strategies for preparing their students, whose direct benefits will be transferred to aspirants across the country.
Though the implementation of the NEET-UG will generate turbulences as its immediate consequence, the result of the move will tremendously improve the educational and competitive scenario of the country in the foreseeable future. All great things come with a little measure of hassle and a few challenges in the beginning and the same applies to this scenario. However, the end results are likely to be worth it for all stakeholders associated with the medical entrance exam space in India.