CHENNAI: While the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test or NEET for medical admission appears to be written in stone, a section of educationists hope it can be reversed if a mass movement is whipped up to force the Central government do a rethink.
They feel the debacles of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad or ABVP in certain top educational institutions, reflect the disenchantment of the student community over the ruling dispensation at the Centre. Students have been coming out in the open against the policy shifts made in education in recent times, but their protests are not well coordinated, the educationists feel. “There is tremendous anger among students and their organisations. But the protests and organisations are not well coordinated,” said Haragopal a crusader for equitable education.
Talking to Express, he said: “The Centre is not trying to understand and grasp things, particularly the diversity of the country while forcing a common test like NEET. The act of centralising things will deprive educational opportunities of downtrodden sections, such as the Dalits.”
Stressing that the struggle and direction of the struggles organised in various parts of the country must be focused on equality and quality of education in public-funded institutions, Haragopal said, “The protests launched by the student community in several parts are giving hope of building up a mass movement against the policy shift in education. Subsequently, public pressure will force the government to rethink on the policy shifts.”
He recalled that representatives of 59 student movements participated at a meeting of the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) in Bengaluru recently. Forum president Anil Sadgopal was more caustic. “By creating a parallel system of coaching for entrance tests like NEET, the government is destroying school and college education,” he alleged. Both Sadgopal and Haragopal were in Chennai to take part in a seminar on challenges of education and the way forward.
D Hariparanthaman, a retired judge of Madras High Court, urged the Tamil Nadu government not to give up its efforts to get Presidential assent for two bills, meant for exempting the State from NEET, passed in the Assembly with the cooperation of the Opposition. “The Centre must grant approval to the two bills seeking exemption from NEET in memory of Anitha,” he demanded.