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NEET will take TN to pre-independence days: AK Rajan committee

September 21, 2021

The Justice (retired) A K Rajan committee to study the impact of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) on aspirants from the socially disadvantaged sections in medical admissions in Tamil Nadu has said the qualifying exam will take the state back to pre-independence days and wanted the government to eliminate it at all levels by following the required legal and or legislative procedures.

Alternatively, the state government may pass an Act indicating the need for eliminating NEET for medical education, and get the President’s assent for the same. The report, earlier submitted to the state government, was made public on Monday.

Last week, the state Assembly had adopted a bill to override NEET, in the backdrop of alleged suicides of many medical aspirants who had either failed to crack the exam or had appeared for it, after the committee had submitted its report.

Elimination of NEET “will ensure social justice and protect all vulnerable student communities from being discriminated in admission to medical education programmes,” the panel said.

The scores obtained by the students in the Higher Secondary examination shall become the sole criteria for admission to the first degree medical programmes. To ensure equality in opportunity to students from different boards of education, normalisation of scores may be followed, it said.

The Tamil Nadu government constituted the committee under the chairmanship of Justice A K Rajan and eight other members.

“If NEET continues for a few more years, the health care system of Tamil Nadu will be very badly affected. There may not be enough doctors for being posted at various Primary Health Centres. There may not be enough expert doctors for being employed in the Government hospitals,” the 165-page report said.

Further, the rural and urban poor may not be able to join the medical courses.

“Ultimately Tamil Nadu may go back to pre-independence days, where in small towns and in villages only ‘bare-foot’ doctors catering for the needs were available. Tamil Nadu as a state would go down in the rank among States, in the Medical and Health Care system,” it concluded.

Identifying the socio, economic and other demographic ‘adversities’ that cause poor performance of all relevant students, mainly the disadvantaged and underprivileged, in their higher secondary examination, and according to the degree of intensities of adversities, re-profiling of scores can be done using a pre-developed framework of “Adversity Score,” it said in another recommendation.

The school education, upto higher secondary, should be reformed to foster ‘learning’ as opposed to ‘coaching’ and tweaking curriculum towards enabling and empowering students with subject knowledge and higher order skills including reasoning, decision making, social disposition and so on, it said among the seven recommendations.

“NEET seems to have clearly undermined the diverse societal representation in MBBS and higher medical studies, favouring mainly the affordable and affluent segment of the society while equally thwarting the dream of pursuing medical education by the underprivileged social groups,” the report said.

NEET has deserted the representation of the social and other demographic groups in medical education. Those social groups who were highly affected were the students of Tamil medium, rural background, government schools, parental income less than Rs 2.5 lakh and socially depressed and disadvantaged groups like MBC, SC, and ST.

“Therefore, the Committee concludes that the NEET is against these disadvantaged groups,” it said.

Also Read:  ‘NEET is dangerous to the robust public health system prevailing in Tamil Nadu’

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