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NEET 2017: New conditions spark another debate

Medical aspirants will now be allowed a maximum of three attempts to clear the entrance test, that too till the age of 25.

A year after its stormy debut, NEET has once again sparked a debate among medical aspirants and parents. This time it is the introduction of a cap on the number of attempts and the upper age limit.The University Grants Commission last week said that students would be allowed to take the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) only thrice, that too until the age of 25. No such conditions existed earlier. While the government is yet to bring out a notification on the new changes, the decision has evoked mixed reactions.

“The age criterion is a positive step but why discriminate between reserved and open category [The age limit for the reserved category is 30],” said Sudha Shenoy, a member of Mission 2017, a forum comprising parents of NEET aspirants.

A student is eligible for NEET at 17, after Class XII and if that student makes continuous attempts, he or she would become ineligible for test after 20. This, according to Shenoy, is unreasonable as the students have eight years between 17 and 25.

“Five attempts per candidate is a reasonable figure,” she said.

Some parents say students continue to take the entrance test to secure a seat in a government-run medical college where fees are much lower. “Exorbitant fees charged by private medical colleges and deemed universities deter us from opting for them as we cannot cough up fees that run into lakhs,” said a student who is preparing for NEET.

Those who could not get admission last year are under tremendous pressure to make it through this time, said Mahendra Choudhari, whose daughter is preparing for a second attempt. He said his daughter could not secure admission last year because of the chaos that ensued after the Supreme Court made NEET mandatory for all institutes in the country.

Move will curb fraud, cheating

But some parents, officials and people from the field of education feel the cap on attempts and age will bring down cases of fraud and cheating.

“It is definitely a step in the right direction as we cannot have 30-year-olds writing NEET,” said Dr Purvi Shah whose daughter will take NEET for the first time this year. “The move will encourage students to crack the exam in one single attempt. It will help restrain them [candidates] from spoiling the crucial years of their life and instead opt for an alternative career early,” said Aakash Chaudhry, director of Aakash Educational Services, which runs a chain of coaching classes.

“It will also help vacate the number of seats for other students who have been preparing for it and will be attempting NEET for the first time to pursue a career in medicine,” he said.

This year, nearly 4 lakh students are expected to take NEET, which will be held on May 7.

Source: mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com


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