‘Unless there is uniformity in curriculum, a common exam will not work’

Even as several States are gearing up for an all-India common entrance exam for medical undergraduate admissions — the National Eligibility-cum- Entrance Exam (NEET) — from the next academic year, a few medical colleges have decided to submit a memorandum to the Centre, asking for the exam to be made optional.

The decision was taken at a meeting organised by the Education Promotion Society for India here on Wednesday. Representatives, including Vice-Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors of nearly 30 colleges and universities in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, New Delhi and Maharashtra participated in the discussion.

Asked about the lack of representation from other States, H. Chaturvedi, alternate president of EPSI, said the southern and western States accounted for almost 70 per cent of the total medical seats in the country.

Concerns

Speaking about the reason for their opposition, society president G. Viswanathan said: “The curriculum varies in all States. There are 24 boards in India. Unless there is uniformity in the curriculum, a common exam will not work. It will be difficult for students from rural background and those who cannot afford extra coaching. It is not student friendly, as if one exam is missed in NEET he/she will lose a whole year. If it is made optional, there won’t be a problem as they can attempt other exams.”

Speaking about the State government’s decision to implement NEET in 2013 despite initial resistance, and the subsequent preparation by introducing the central syllabus for pre-university science students, Mr. Viswanathan said: “For it to work, it requires improving the quality of education from Class 1. Central syllabus should be introduced from elementary school itself.”