The MCI announcement of one common entrance test pan India for admission into medical colleges seems to have left students and academicians confused

The announcement made by the Medical Council of India (MCI) that there shall be one common entrance test (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) pan India for admission into medical colleges, seems to have left students and academicians in a confused state of mind. They feel that it is not the ripe time to enforce NEET, considering the preparation time left and the discrepancies between the State and NCERT syllabus.

NEET is scheduled to be held on May 13. John Paul, Head of BiPC, Narayana Coaching Centre, “the NEET proposal was announced on October 25 by the MCI and that leaves just three months for our students to prepare for the entrance test. From February, the practical examinations of Intermediate will begin and in March-April we have the Board examination. So we have just November, December and January left to prepare for the NEET. Our students are already tuned to the State syllabus and the EAMCET model, hence three months is a very short period to get tuned to the NCERT model. We are not against NEET, but the ideal time for implementation would be 2013-14, as we would have two years of preparation time.”

Most the colleges follow the integrated coaching system, wherein the EAMCET model is embedded into the basic Intermediate syllabus. “Starting something different at this level would be extremely difficult for us to cope with. Our mind is tuned to one pattern and taking up a new model at this stage will upset our rhythm,” says Aparna, a second-year BiPC student.

Syllabus

The proposed common entrance test is totally based on NCERT (CBSE plus two) syllabus, and there is a huge difference between the State and the Central Board's syllabus. P.V.R.K. Murthy, Chairman of Sri Gayatri, another premier coaching institute, says, “there is a huge difference in all the three core subjects- Biology, Physics and Chemistry- between the two boards. And we need about 100 to 150 extra periods only to cover the difference. Where is the time?” In Physics, NEET syllabus covers extra topics such as Variable Force, Keplar's Laws, Kinetic Theory of Gases, Optics (reflection, mirror, eyes and elimination of eye defects) and the chapter of Electrostatics. “The chapters are spread across both the years of basic study, and we need at least 50 periods to teach these chapters,” says Mr. Murthy.

Though there is not much of a difference between the two syllabuses, the NEET covers extensively the topic of surface chemistry, which is totally missing in the Intermediate and EAMCET syllabus. Topics such as Tyndall effect, Brownian Movement, Electrophoresis and types of emulsions are missing from the state syllabus. “A student would require an additional 25 hours to cover these topics,” says Mr. Murthy. In Biology, the EAMCET and the Intermediate syllabus cover rabbit physiology, whereas the NEET syllabus addresses human physiology. This is a huge difference as far as the subject of biology is concerned. This topic alone caters to 95-100 classes. Moreover, there is also a difference in the topics of plant physiology and biotechnology.

“In Intermediate and EAMCET syllabus, the basic structure of biotechnology is covered, whereas in the NEET, applications of biotechnology are addressed,” says John Paul.

In the EAMCET pattern, Biology is equally divided into Botany and Zoology, and equal importance is given to Physics and Chemistry. Hence, the scoring pattern is uniform, whereas it is not the same when it comes to the common entrance test.

Though the MCI has agreed to design the question papers in Telugu to suit students from Telugu medium, it has not addressed the issue of textbooks. So far, there are no textbooks or reference books that cover the required syllabus in Telugu.

There is a mixed reaction among the academicians and the students on the issue of national pool. While some say that Andhra Pradesh should be in the national pool, as the students from the State should not be deprived of studying in some of the top colleges in the country, others feel that the State will be losing out in the seat ratio.

Explaining the details, Mr. P.V.R.K. Murthy says, “the total number of medical seats in Andhra Pradesh is 4,450. As per the national pool norm – 85 per cent of these total seats will be allotted to the candidates from the State and the rest is meant for the students from other States. In that case, we are left with 3,750 seats. Now, coming to the national level- the number of seats across the country is 41,000. The 15 per cent quota for other States comes to 4,450 seats, for which the students from 23 states will be competing. If the students from Andhra Pradesh do well, then we are sure to secure a maximum of 400 seats. One hand we lose 700 seats in the State and on the other hand we gain 400 seats at the national level. Moreover, both JIPMER and AIIMS have been exempted from NEET, so that leaves the idea of one examination ‘high and dry', as students will also have to prepare for these two examinations.”

Other areas where some clarity is needed are the examination system of NEET, whether the weightage marks of Intermediate be considered for NEET ranking, reservation system in allotment of seats and on what basis seats will be allotted to Ag., B.Sc, B.V.Sc courses.

Keywords: MCINEETmedical entrance