At least 50,000 responses on National Eligibility cum Entrance Test were received till Wednesday evening by the Justice A.K. Rajan committee. The panel would start looking into the views from Thursday.
The committee was constituted by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin earlier this month to understand people’s views on NEET, the Central government’s eligibility criterion for admission to undergraduate medical programmes, including Indian systems of medicine.
The State, which currently has around 6,500 seats, surrenders 15% seats to the central pool. The Union Health Ministry conducts counselling for the central pool and for seats in deemed universities.
Several associations, representing parents, teachers and students besides individuals have sent their views. Justice Rajan said people may want to mail their responses until mid-night. “The aim is to understand the reasons for and against conducting NEET but some have responded as if it is a poll,” he said.
The emphasis on a single exam after 12 years of schooling has irked some associations. Tamil Nadu Child Rights Watch and Tamil Nadu Parents’ Students Welfare Association have pointed out that introduction of NEET had made redundant 12 years of school education as the emphasis was on just one qualifying exam. Also, the test did not take into account the socio-economic differences among the students, they said.
NEET has only encouraged the coaching coaching centres which charge exorbitant fees. Students who cannot afford such money are left out, they charged.
K.R. Nandakumar, general secretary of the T.N. Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and CBSE Schools Association, said it had recommended NEET. “People have accepted competitive exams for teachers and to administrative posts in the government. Why not for education that is about saving thousands of lives. If merit is the criterion even matriculation school students will stand a chance,” he added.
Last year, when the government proposed horizontal reservation for students from government schools, he had sought 7.5% reservation for private school students, courting controversy.
In 2017, the year NEET became mandatory for admission, K. Deenadayalan’s daughter had to take a seat in a deemed university despite good scores. He claimed malpractice in nativity and community certificate that year edged out his daughter. “Earlier I would have had to pay ₹70 lakh to ₹1 crore for medical admission in a private college. But NEET helped my daughter get into a deemed university at least,” he said.
The National Testing Agency is yet to announce the date for NEET 2021.