NEET records 85-90% attendance, says NTA

Candidates outside NEET UG exam centre in Rohini, New Delhi. File photo   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to undergraduate medical and dental courses recorded an attendance rate of “around 85-90%” on Sunday, according to initial data from the National Testing Agency, which conducted the examination. Almost 16 lakh students had registered to write the examination, which was postponed twice from the initial May date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“NTA informed me that around 85-90% students appeared in NEET today,” Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank tweeted. “I sincerely thank all Chief Ministers and the Director General of NTA for proper arrangements made to facilitate student participation. NEET participation reflects the tenacity and grit of young AtmaNirbhar Bharat.”

Also Read | NEET is not student-friendly, merit-promoting

Random sampling

The attendance figure is based on random sampling at centres across States, said a senior NTA official, adding that more accurate data would be available on Monday. The percentage of registered students who appeared for the examination may be slightly lower than the 92.85% recorded in 2019.

Students said the examination was of “moderate” difficulty, with several who attempted the examination for the second time noting that it was easier than last year.

They are competing for about one lakh MBBS and BDS seats in government and private institutions across the country.

Although students who showed symptoms such as an elevated temperature or coughing at the examination centres were allowed to write the test in a separate isolated room, those who had actually tested positive for COVID-19 were barred from appearing. Such candidates will be allowed to take the test at a later date, said the NTA. Last minute changes in the allocation of some centres, especially in Assam, Gujarat and Maharashtra, caused a few students to miss the examination although information was provided ahead of time. It is not clear whether such students will also be given an alternative date to write the test.

Also read | Protests against NEET in Chennai

A section of students and parents had demanded further postponement of NEET due to the spike in COVID-19 cases and difficulties in transportation following local lockdown. Despite widespread social media protests, court cases and objections by several State governments, the examination was held as scheduled.

More centres

The number of centres was expanded to 3,843 this year, in order to prevent crowding and allow the number of students per room to be halved to just 12, and an exhaustive safety protocol, with disposable masks, gloves and sanitisers, was put in place to protect students from infection. Students across the country reported that these norms were largely followed within the examination hall, although distancing in many places was two feet rather than the recommended six feet. However, it was a different story outside, with images and videos from a number of cities showing crowding and jostling of parents and students outside venues.

The tragic death by suicide of three NEET aspirants in Tamil Nadu in the couple of days before the examination led to protests by political parties within the State. The hashtag #BanNEET_SaveTNStudents trended on Twitter for several hours late on Saturday night.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 4:56:41 AM |

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