July 19, 2024

Solid State Lighting Design

Find latest world news and headlines today based on politics, crime, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, technology and many more

NEET: Why did the exam spark national outrage in India?

NEET: Why did the exam spark national outrage in India?

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Students in Delhi are protesting against alleged question paper leaks in NEET medical examination

  • author, Sherrilan Mullan
  • Role, BBC News, Mumbai

A major medical test in India has sparked anger, protests and allegations of cheating after thousands of candidates scored abnormally high on this year’s test.

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate), or NEET-UG – conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) – is the gateway to studying medicine in the country, as its scores are necessary to gain admission into a medical college. It is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), a government organization that conducts some of the largest tests in India.

Millions of students take the exam every year, but only a small percentage score good enough to secure entry to university. But this year the challenge is somewhat different: too many candidates received the highest scores, dragging down the ranking system and making it difficult for even those with the highest scores to gain admission.

Since the results were announced on June 4, the exam has come under scrutiny for reasons ranging from errors in the question paper and incorrect giving of grace marks (compensatory marks) to allegations of paper leakage and fraud. Students and parents demanded a retest and dozens of petitions were submitted to the courts for this purpose.

NTA officials denied allegations of paper leaks, but on Sunday, Federal Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan admitted that “some irregularities” had come to light at some examination centres. He said no one, including NTA officials, would be spared if irregularities were discovered.

But all this is little consolation to students who spend months or even years preparing for this highly competitive exam.

Tens of millions of students in India dream of getting into a good medical or engineering college every year – these professions command a lot of respect and also hold the hope of a steady, long-term income in a country suffering from a jobs crisis.

This year, 2.4 million students competed for just 110,000 seats available in the NEET exam, underscoring the intense pressure and fierce competition faced by aspiring candidates.

Of the total seats, 55,000-60,000 belong to government colleges, while the rest are provided by private colleges. Half of the seats are reserved for underprivileged students.

Students flock to public colleges for their affordability. A five-year MBBS course at a government college costs between 500,000 and 1 million rupees ($5,992-$11,984), while private colleges can charge up to ten times that.

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Millions of students take the NEET exam every year

What led to the controversy?

When the results were announced on June 4, it was found that… An unprecedented 67 students He received a full score of 720.

Since 2016 — when NEET became the official entrance exam for medical colleges in India — only one to three students have scored full marks each year, and sometimes not even that.

This year, there was also a significant increase in the number of candidates scoring between 650 and 680, resulting in intense competition for seats in the best medical colleges in India.

But the NTA refuted the allegations. saying that “the integrity of the exam has not been compromised” and that there were a greater number of high scores this year because more students had taken the exam.

It also said that 1,563 candidates were given “grace marks” for delays at examination centers and because a physics question turned out to have two correct answers. It is worth noting that 50 out of 67 of the top scorers received full marks thanks to these compensatory points.

But on June 13, India’s Supreme Court scrapped the compensatory marks after several students filed petitions challenging the NTA’s decision, calling it “arbitrary” and “unfair.”

The Supreme Court also asked students who scored grace marks to be given the option to take the exam again – which is scheduled to take place on June 23.

But protesters say the court ruling does not address the larger issues they raised, such as allegations of leaked papers, fraud and systemic corruption.

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Congressional leaders protest alleged irregularities in the exam

Eye of the storm

Surbhi Sharma, 23, who attempted the exam for the fifth time this year and scored 650, claims paper leaks – rampant in India – are behind the score fluctuations.

She noted that although there was a significant increase in high scorers (in the 650-680 mark range), there was no similar rise in mid-range scorers (610-640 mark).

“NTA officials said more candidates scored high because the paper was easier this year. But if that was the case, everyone should have done better, not just a section of candidates.

On June 1, he helped file a petition in the Supreme Court in which 10 students sought permission to retake the NEET exam, alleging that the question paper had been leaked at exam centers in Patna, the capital of Bihar.

The Bihar Police launched an investigation into the allegations soon after the test was conducted. On May 10, they announced the arrest of 13 people, including four students, in connection with a paper leakage case.

On June 15, the police sent notices to nine other students suspected of involvement in the case, asking them to join the investigation.

Manavjit Singh Dhillon, a senior police official. Tell The 13 accused allegedly leaked the question paper to 30 candidates at a “safe house” a day before the exam in exchange for hundreds of thousands of rupees, the Times of India reported.

he Tell News agency PTI separately said that during the investigation, officials recovered post-dated checks and partially burnt papers and that they had sought question papers from NTA for reference.

In addition to accusations of leaking papers, the exam faced additional allegations of cheating and fraud.

Police have arrested three people in Delhi and six in Rajasthan for allegedly impersonating NEET candidates to write the exam on their behalf. In Gujarat, police arrested five people for their alleged involvement in a cheating conspiracy at an examination center in Godhra.

Political quarrel

The controversy sparked criticism from opposition leaders who accused the BJP-led coalition government of “betraying the dreams” of millions of students.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the issue and accused his government of “covering up the NEET scam”. The party also called for a Supreme Court-led investigation into the alleged violations.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a batch of petitions related to NEET results – including those seeking the test to be canceled – on July 8.