By Dr Vishal Rao U S
My views on the recent judgment by SC on quashing the common medical test i.e. National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Examination (NEET)?
One first needs to understand why was there are necessity for NEET. Presently there are multiple exams that are being conducted across the country by various medical institutions. This mandates a candidate aspiring to pursue the medical course explore multiple options across country, travel to give these exams and prepare possibly based on the standards set by the respective institution. This endeavor may involve
Higher costs owing to travel, procuring forms, and examination fees.
NEET would be a ideal platform regulating standards and setting up a benchmark for selecting students interested in pursuing medicine.This system is a part of regulation whereby entry to the field of medical education is regulated in such a way that only eligible and suitable students are given admission to medical colleges. It may ensure more transparency and less hardship to the aspiring student.
2. Does a single-window competition creates the disparity in educational standards in different parts of the country and does not a level playing field?
The issues with NEET are -
Would the candidates chosen by NEET qualifications match the standards expected by specific institutions across the country ? for Eg : standards set and examinations conducted by AIIMs vs CMC Vs Private medical college may vary largely.
If Well regulated and controlled, Introduction of NEET would initiate a important step in setting good benchmark for medical standards for students aspiring to become doctors in our country.
This could be the first step to regulate quality of students entering into medicine at the point of entry and thus setting a uniform standard across country.
The real question here is - Is the issue about setting academic standards by introducing NEET or to continue regulating the entry of students based on financial standards. While there are a few reputed medical institutions that live up to standards of quality control, many may consider the paying capacity of a candidate to determine his eligibility into medical school or other extraneous consideration which could come into play in the process of selection.
I completely agree with the views set forth by Justice Anil Dave in his dissenting judgement - that the process of selection with NEET would not be influenced by irrelevant factors like caste and creed, community, race, lineage, gender, social or economic standing, place of residence.