Ministers odds over NEET Exam

Published by : Step in college

NEET Exam: A plan by the Ministry of Education to conduct the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical and dental courses twice a year is not in favor of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This was communicated by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal after consultation with the National Medical Commission (NMC), an official stated to the Hindustan Times. Pokhriyal made a personal request to the health minister after this to rethink the matter. "The Minister of Health has now assured (his counterpart) that he will review the decision," said an official aware of the development, asking for anonymity.

Ministers odds over NEET Exam

The president of the Undergraduate Medical Education Board, Dr. Aruna V Vanikar, told the Hindustan Times that a final decision is expected. We have yet to hear the final word on this from the Indian government. In the first case, the official cited stated that Pokhriyal's pitch to conduct the exam more than once was met with apprehension by officials from the health ministry, although it was not clear exactly why. After deliberations by the National Medical Commission (NMC), which is responsible for the syllabus of the exams, the official said this was the case. HT contacted the commission's chairman, Dr. SC Sharma, who refused to comment. "Please ask the Ministry of Health for more information,' he said.

A spokesman for the health ministry told HT: "It (the proposal) is currently under the NMC and the ministry's consideration." But a second official said the health ministry's and especially the NMC's reluctance to give the clearance was because they thought it was within their power to determine the course of medical examinations and not the call of the National Testing Agency. The proposal from Pokhriyal lifted the expectations of thousands of students hoping to get two choices to take the exam. The Ministry of Education has already declared that, from this year onwards, the joint entrance test for admission to engineering colleges will be held online four times a year.

A spokesman for the health ministry told HT: "It (the proposal) is currently under the NMC and the ministry's consideration." But a second official said the health ministry's and especially the NMC's reluctance to give the clearance was because they thought it was within their power to determine the course of medical examinations and not the call of the National Testing Agency. The proposal from Pokhriyal lifted the expectations of thousands of students hoping to get two choices to take the exam. The Ministry of Education has already declared that, from this year onwards, the joint entrance test for admission to engineering colleges will be held online four times a year. For medical students, too, the ministry hoped for a similar option.

The Hindustan Times reached out to Vineet Joshi, head of the National Testing Department, who did not respond to queries. In order to allow online exams earlier this month, the agency formally wrote to the health ministry. For the 1.5 million candidates who had last registered for the test, the reason for offering an online option and an alternate date was to make it simpler. Although there were many students who moved the Supreme Court against the examinations conducted during a pandemic, only about 10 percent of students were absent when the exam took place in September. The second official said that while concerns about NEET distracting Class XII students twice a year were a legitimate concern, the real reason may be that the health ministry was not thrilled that MBBS students were chosen by the NTA of the education ministry instead of NMC, which governs medical education.

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