That the country’s immoral political class and bureaucracy are the worst enemies of any kind of reforms have once again been demonstrated by the ‘directive’ issued by the Union health ministry to the Medical Council of India (MCI) to withhold its ambitious plan to conduct an all-India national eligibility-cum-entrance-test (NEET) for regulating admissions to all medical colleges.
After the government disbanded the Ketan Desai-led corrupt management of MCI and appointed a new board of governors consisting of eminent people, there were high hopes that the scandal-ridden medical education would be put back on the rails. Encouraged by human resources development minister Kapil Sibal’s strong backing for an NEET, the new MCI went ahead and issued two notifications for regulating admissions to undergraduate and post graduate medical courses.
The MCI set clear-cut parameters saying that the marks obtained in NEET and in class XII shall be the criteria for selection for MBBS and a single NEET for post graduate courses. It also specified the concession in marks in respect of SC/ST/OBC candidates and those with physical disabilities. The notifications said 50 per cent of the seats shall be filled by the state governments and the rest by the medical colleges concerned on the basis of merit list.
Considering the utter chaos, lack of transparency and unbridled corruption that characterise the existing admission norms in medical colleges across the country, it seemed a viable and practical solution. Even the Supreme Court cleared the way for the proposed CET and said it would step in only if some problems arose in future. That being the case, there is no justification for the health ministry poking its nose and asking the MCI to withdraw notifications on the specious grounds that prior approval of the ministry had not been obtained.
The ministry claims that it wants to discuss the ‘pros and cons of implementation of the CET’ with the state governments before the MCI could go ahead with its plan. This is nothing but an obstructionist attitude, possibly in collaboration with some powerful vested interests and state governments which have profited from the existing opaque system. Some of the bureaucrats and politicians loathe to let go the powers they enjoy and would do everything to scuttle the reforms.
Pros: It would definitely demolish the jeopardy happened due to the countless entrance exams that were conducted by every colleges/universities for medical admissions. This single system for medical entrance would solve the stress due to the complexities of numerous entrance tests! It would save time, energy and money of the students. The students would have spent a lot every time, while applying for the entrance exams; such costs would be saved! This system is certainly a positive growth towards the quality enhancements of the medical education standards in India. In fact, the MCI has designed the system very strictly that all the admissions would be made merit based and even, it is insisting the same standard for management quota too. The students’ sufferings due to multiple entrance exams are not negligible! The fact that at the end of every academics, there were numerous students running to the Supreme Court requesting justice on the cases, where they were treated worst due to the biased admissions; flawed questions, etc. could not be forgotten! The efforts and consideration of MCI on these issues are really appreciable and the thought of single medical entrance test is awe-inspiring and it is definitely would be a perfect solution to these problems!
Cons: Now, the medical competition has become an open ground, as it would be the common entrance medical test and it would be controlled by the central board; this would further induce pressure into the minds of the students. When the entrance exam is implemented nationwide, the State level policies and regulations wouldn’t be taken care of! The system didn’t include the management quota seats; it’s again a big hole in the system. Having created a standard quality system based on merits, but creating a loop hole to management based seats would not complete the purpose of its creation. Earlier, the students had many opportunities of writing the entrance tests; according to a survey, on an average, a student writes around 10 entrance tests to finally get admitted in his/her dream/desirable medical colleges/universities. So, the chances of getting a seat were high; if a student loses in one entrance exam, then he/she could work and make it on the other, but those opportunities would not be possible in this system. It is a single medical entrance system, hence the chance is only one; really meagre! Hence, if a student loses in this exam, it would end up in shattering his/her dreams on medical field! The AIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) has been the top medical educational provider from its inception in the year 1956. But, the NEET didn’t include institutions like, AIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences); which is a dream to any medical student. Since it is a single medical entrance system for around 30, 000 medical seats, the consistent of quality and implementation of error-free system is highly questionable!