The Health Ministry will hold the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for postgraduate medical admissions in November this year.
The Ministry is also considering postponing entrance exams for undergraduate courses — the All India Pre-Medical Test — scheduled for May 1, by two months. The move comes a day after the Supreme Court approved a pan-Indian, common medical entrance exam.
The modalities are being worked out for entrance exams for undergraduate courses.
Reacting to the decision, sources in the Health Department in Tamil Nadu, a State that has opposed NEET, said they would have to approach the court again.
The Supreme Court, on Monday, >paved the way for a single medical entrance test for all colleges, including private colleges and deemed universities. The apex court, recalled its 2013 judgment, invalidating NEET and called for a fresh hearing.
Speaking to The Hindu , Dr. Jayashree Mehta, president of the Medical Council of India, said the body had written to the Health Ministry and the Central Board of Secondary Examinations (CBSE) for a smooth transition.
“This is a huge victory for us. With the assistance of the Health Ministry, we will be able to hold the undergraduate examination next month. Since the MCI does not have the authority to conduct these exams, we have written to MHRD, CBSE and the Health Ministry. It is too early for us to commit to dates but surely we can do it if all work together,” she said. The Health Ministry is also considering legal options as exams for all undergraduate courses have to be completed by September 1.
A Tamil Nadu official pointed out that there was no entrance test for students seeking admission to the undergraduate MBBS programme in the State. Students are allotted seats based on their 12th standard marks, and through a computer-generated random number allotment. Additionally the State had obtained a stay when NEET was notified in 2011. With no other changes to the original order, the stay will kick in the moment a decision is made to conduct the test, experts argue.
Educationists also point to the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Admission in Professional Colleges Act, 2006. “How can a notification supersede the Act, which, incidentally says, its provisions will overrule any countermanding laws or notifications?,” a senior educationist asked.
While claiming that no instructions have been received from the Health Ministry, sources said, “If NEET were to be reintroduced and made compulsory, we would have to go to court again.”