Need NEET solution soon

Medical aspirants want a clear statement from the government on the NEET issue. Educationists, meanwhile, say the current state of impasse could further create confusion among students and even result in many opting for professions other than medicine.
Need NEET solution soon
Students appearing for the medical entrance examination (File photo)

Chennai

While NEET might get exempted this year in Tamil Nadu, students who are currently in Class 12 and who will be appearing for the board exam in Class 2018, say that the problem remains the same.
The syllabus changes are being implemented for Class 11 students who will be taking the exam in 2019. However, Class 12 students have to manage their board exam and also prepare for NEET. “It will be better for the current Class 12 students when compared to how it was for the last Class 12 batch, as they will have more time to prepare for the competitive exams. In fact, most of them have already started their course and the study materials promised by the government is only encouraging. Those who are serious about their career in medicine will also have a clear idea, because they can take it easy when it comes to the obsession with the centums and will understand the concepts better. The problem is not with what they learn but how they learn,” C Nagasurya, of Jupiter Education Academy. 
According to reports, Union minister Nirmala Seetharaman said the Centre might consider the state's request if the ordinance emphasised on how NEET will diminish the chances of students from rural areas. However, Seetharaman said that permanent exemption from NEET for the state students might not happen. 
Despite the assurance by the Union Minster, students remain confused about their future. Bala M, who qualified for the examination, says, “The state government must say something soon, as we have wasted so much time already. I was glad initially that I qualified the exams and would get a good government seat in Chennai or Coimbatore, but my happiness was short-lived as the confusion still continues.” 
Some schools have made special arrangements for students to prepare for the competitive exams. “This year we have integrated separate sections for students preparing for JEE and NEET. Apart from the regular classes, we have integrated coaching classes within the regular timings. They will either be taught by our staff or professionals from coaching centers," says Lalitha Venkatesh, Headmistress of Kaligi Ranganathan Montford Matriculation Higher Secondary School.
Protect public health system
Education-activist Prince Gajendra Babu says, “Even if the exemption is only for one year as an immediate relief, it should be like last year, where it covered government seats in private colleges as well as the seats in government colleges,” he says. Expanding further, he says, “Like previous years, admissions must be based on the Class 12 results. We are still awaiting the President’s assent on the two Bills. The late Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa wanted a complete exemption and we want the same, as it is against the students in the rural areas; it will also affect the public health system. When NEET is introduced, there will be no in-service quota for postgraduate students and this will work against the state’s public health system.”
Stating that the students and parents are extremely confused, Dr Alagar Raja, Deputy Medical Superintendent, Saveetha Medical College, said, “Parents are extremely worried as their children’s future has been put at stake.” Recalling an experience faced by a student, he said, “She had scored top marks and was eagerly awaiting admission into a city college. However, because of state government’s policy, she was admitted in a deemed university in Manipal as her parents were too anxious. The government’s inefficiency is to be blamed for such instances. In future, students from Tier-2 cities and villages are going to suffer. There is also going to be a major switchover of the profession.” 
However, some activists say that NEET or NEET-like screening is necessary. “I feel that the present cut-off system is arbitrary. It is a fact that students from state board schools have not done as well as the CBSE students in the first NEET, but it is the way to go forward,” says educationist A Narayanan. He also asked the present Class 12 students not to panic, as they have enough time to prepare. 
“The government has already released the board examination dates and they have time to prepare as they are also releasing CDs to help them prepare for the examination. In fact, from this year on Class 11 will be given a short, concept-based question paper that will have 1, 2, 3 and 5 marks worth questions. This is the same style as the NEET and will help them better," he says. 

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