NEET: Doubt And Dismay - Eastern Mirror
Wednesday, July 24, 2024

NEET: Doubt and Dismay

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 12, 2024 12:36 am

More than 23 lakh students from across India took the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate), dubbed one of the world’s biggest entrance examinations, in May this year in an attempt to secure admission in government and private institutions for various courses in medicine. Aspirants burn the midnight oil preparing for this entrance test and many take coaching for months or even years in the hope of cracking it. For students from hilly regions like the Northeast, many have to travel for several hours to take the exam, as centres are usually located only in towns and cities. Many from Manipur had to appear for the test from centres located in neighbouring states like Nagaland and Assam for two consecutive years due to the ongoing ethnic conflict in the state. So, one can only imagine the disappointment and frustration students who have sweated out to pursue a career in medicine might have gone through on finding out that they could have been cheated. The allegations of irregularities in mark allotment and question paper leak have done much harm, affecting lakhs of students and credibility of National Testing Authority (NTA), which conducts various competitive exams. What caught the eye when the NEET results were declared earlier this month was the unusual number of candidates scoring full marks, while some scored 718 and 719 out of 720, which is impossible going by the existing marking system of four marks for each correct answer and a negative mark for each incorrect answer. The NTA, which conducts NEET-UG, has clarified that the high score and odd marks were due to the grace marks granted to more than 1500 students for the loss of time caused by distribution of wrong question papers and torn OMR sheets. But it has failed to clear the doubts.

Amid the uproar from various quarters, the Union Education ministry has constituted a four-member committee to look into the matter, but harm has already been done. Student organisations have hit the streets in protest, while the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has demanded a CBI inquiry, saying that it won’t accept the probe conducted by the four-member panel. Sensing the possible implication of the alleged malpractices, the Supreme Court, while hearing a fresh petition seeking cancellation of the recently announced NEET-UG results and to conduct a fresh exam, has asked the Centre and NTA to respond to the plea, saying that it needed an answer. It also came down heavily on the central agency, saying that the sanctity of the examination has been affected while refusing to stay the counselling process for selected students. Now, all eyes will be on the findings of the probe panel. It is important for the committee to restore the confidence of the citizens in the NTA by maintaining utmost transparency and avoiding adding stress to students. More importantly, the NTA must have an effective system in place to ensure that cases of question paper leak, technical glitches and cheating do not recur. Nobody should play with the future of students.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 12, 2024 12:36:11 am
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