The National Medical Commission (NMC) has decided to allow non-biology students to take NEET-UG, which is the gateway for undergraduate medical courses like MBBS and BDS.
According to a public notice issued by NMC on November 22, candidates who have passed 10+2 or its equivalent with Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Biotechnology, and English will be eligible to appear in NEET-2024. Candidates who have completed their 10+2 examinations with physics, chemistry, mathematics or computer science, and other subjects are also eligible to take NEET-UG without studying Biology/Biotechnology subjects.
According to the order, the erstwhile Medical Council of India (MCI), through the provisions of the regulations on Graduate Medical Education-1997, including the various amendments, under chapter II had regulated the admission and selection to MBBS course, including the necessity for candidates having undergone two years of regular/continuous/coterminous study of Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Biotechnology in class 11 and 12 with practical, along with English.
This 10+2 years study was required to be completed from regular schools and not from open schools or as private candidates. Further, the study of Biology/Biotechnology or any other requisite subject could not be completed as an additional subject after passing class 12.
“However, these rules were challenged in the Delhi High Court and were quashed on May 11, 2018. This order had a consequential bearing on the candidates seeking admission in graduate/primary medical courses in foreign medical institutes due to the statutory regulations. Therefore, many candidates had been debarred from NEET-UG test as also their applications seeking eligibility certificate were rejected,” it said.
The NMC has framed the ‘Graduate Medical Education Regulations-2023. “The NMC, in its meeting held on June 6, 2023, after detailed deliberations while taking into consideration the National Education Policy (NEP-2020), which permits great extent of flexibility in the study of various subjects in class 12, decided that the previous approach of the erstwhile MCI needs to be revisited by permitting candidates to undertaken study of the requisite subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Biotechnology along with English) even as additional subjects after passing class 12 from duly recognized boards by the concerned government. Such candidates shall be permitted to appear in NEET-UG test and resultantly also be eligible for grant of eligibility certificate,” said the order.
The NMC also said that the decision will be applicable retrospectively on candidates whose applications for grant of ‘Eligibility Certificate’ have been rejected on the grounds contemplated in the present public notice. However, for the purpose of appearing in NEET-UG, candidates who become eligible after the date of the present public notice shall be permitted to appear in NEET-2024.
However, experts have criticised the NMC’s move stating that the new guidelines will affect the quality of medical education. Speaking to The Hindu, Hanumantha Rao, the CEO and Dean of a NEET Academy in Bengaluru said, “Biology is the core subject for the medical courses. All the primary aspects of medical courses will be taught to the students at the 10+2 level. However, the NMC’s new guidelines will affect the quality of medical education and it will produce low-quality doctors. Moreover, it is very tough to crack the NEET-UG exam for non-biology students.”