Primary health care centres in rural Tamil Nadu will not get doctors in future if the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is continued, said AK Rajan, former judge in the Madras High Court, who has submitted his report to the state government on the impact of the test.
“NEET drives away the poor, only the rich and the affluent garner most seats. When you remove local students from studying MBBS, after becoming doctors affluent people are not going to serve in PHCs in remote areas. They will go abroad to continue studies and look after their life,” Mr Rajan told NDTV.
While all other states except Tamil Nadu have accepted NEET, the former judge said: “Other states will soon join the demand. Tamil Nadu has been a pioneer in many issues. Earlier only we protested against Hindi imposition but now other southern states too are opposing.”
The state-constituted committee to study the impact of the test received more than 86,000 representations, said the former judge. NEET, the former judge said, is causing irreparable damage.
The panel was tasked to study data related to medical admissions in Tamil Nadu and make necessary recommendations to safeguard the interests of students from the backward sections.
Despite reservation the poor and rural students have not benefited equally as they are unable to afford private coaching unlike urban affluent students, Mr Rajan said. There are also no coaching centres in rural areas, he added.
“NEET eliminates the poor. Equality is not only treating the poor equally. We should look at the outcome of this system; does it help every section of the society? If it does not, we should change it,” he told NDTV.
Before NEET became mandatory, claims Mr Rajan, a higher number of poor students managed to get admission for medicine, though they came largely through government schools.
Today poor students are increasingly not applying for NEET out of fear that they will not make it as the test is based on CBSE, a different curriculum, said the former judge.ADVERTISING
“Tamil Nadu’s robust healthcare system and its skilled doctors who have made the state internationally renowned health capital did not clear NEET, he said answering question about a possible fear in decline in standards.
The former high court judge claimed that NEET furthers rote learning and complained that there is no cap on the number of attempts.
“It promotes rote learning. Many are repeaters who prepare joining private coaching classes after class XII and account for a high percentage now. How can you dump the 98% scored by a class XII student? Even for IAS there is a limit of 8 attempts but for NEET there is no limit.”
Most parties, including the ruling DMK and main opposition AIADMK, are on the same page on NEET and have been demanding that the test be scrapped, arguing that it went against social justice, rural and government school students.
For nine years, Tamil Nadu had abolished medical entrance tests arguing poor and rural students are at a disadvantage with respect to private coaching. While the DMK government had managed to get presidential assent for exemption from NEET during the UPA regime it was part of the Congress government which brought in NEET. The BJP refused to extend support despite pressure from its ally, the AIADMK which ruled the state for ten years since 2011.
The report provides a list of options for the state government to work towards getting exemption from NEET. The state government is yet to announce its stand on the report and plan of action.
News Source: NDTV News