Students who have been enrolled in MBBS courses via NEET have performed poorly than those enrolled based on class 12 marks, found a committee set up by the Tamil Nadu government to analyse the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
Dr Jawahar Nesan, a member of Justice AK Rajan committee formed by the government of Tamil Nadu to study the socio-economic impact of NEET speaks exclusively to News18 Tamil Nadu. He is an educationist, former Vice-Chancellor of JSS Science and Technology University Mysore.
Dr Nesan reveals that the committee has analysed the performance of students during the MBBS course pre-NEET and post NEET and found that the performance of MBBS students who cleared NEET is poorer than students who got admitted in the course based on class 12 marks.
“In the first year of the course, there is no difference between those who got admitted based plus two marks and those based on NEET. However, from the second year, students who got admitted based on NEET marks perform poorer than those who entered before 2017 based on their plus two marks” stated Dr Nesan.
He also explains the reason behind this scenario. “School gives you the opportunity to develop critical thinking, logical reasoning. Whether schools do that or not is a question to be answered. But coaching centres definitely do not provide that opportunity. Therefore, from the second year when the student has to apply his mind and employ critical thinking, we see the difference”
Terming what coaching centres do as “business” he says according to the data collected by the committee the yearly turnover of 400 odd private coaching centres in Tamil Nadu is minimum Rs 6000 crores. “What we have calculated is only a minimal estimate. The actual volume must be much higher. On average, a student has to spend anywhere between Rs 1.2 lakhs to Rs 5 lakhs per year for NEET coaching. There are crash courses starting from one month to several years of coaching. Some top centres charge even Rs 5,00,00 for one-month crash course,” reveals Dr.Nesan to News18.
He says NEET is dangerous to the robust public health system prevailing in Tamil Nadu. “Those who get admitted based on NEET are primarily from urban, affluent, educated families. We found that 70% of students when they finish their PG course chose to work with private corporate hospitals. But it was not the case before the introduction of NEET. Earlier, 70% of students chose to work with government hospitals. Therefore I would say NEET is destructive, it shatters the public health system”.
He questions why are NEET toppers not school board exam toppers too. ” Earlier only those who had scored above 96% in board exams would get admission in a medical college. But now those with 60-70% marks in board exams get admitted. Their NEET performance is only based on the percentile system. So they don’t have to score 96% in NEET as well”.
Justice AK Rajan committee comprises of nine members including the state Health Secretary, Director of Medical Education. The committee received around 90000 responses from the public about the impact of NEET. The committee had worked for a month to submit a 165-page report to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The report is yet to be made public.
The previous ruling AIADMK government and the current DMK government have made it clear that they stand against NEET. Tamil Nadu got an exemption from NEET in 2016 when late J Jayalalithaa was the Chief Minister. However, repeated efforts by the government to seek an exemption from the exam failed. The state government had passed an ordinance against NEET in the state assembly in 2017 but never got the President’s assent.
Now the newly formed DMK government is mulling upon legal options to obtain an exemption from the exam.