CHENNAI: Less than 3 per cent of all students from Tamil Nadu, who qualified in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2018, come from government or government-aided schools, according to the data released by School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan on Tuesday.
Of the 45,336 students from Tamil Nadu who qualified in the exam, only 1,337 students are from government or government aided schools.
According to sources in the School Education department, 9,154 students from various government and government-aided schools appeared for the exam. This means that only 14.60 per cent of students from these schools cleared the exam as opposed to 41.72 per cent (45,336 students of 1,05,448 students) from private schools including CBSE schools. Less than 25 students cleared the exam, from almost half the districts. The highest number of students who cleared the exam came from Tirunelveli (195 students) and Kanniyakumari (173) and the least number of students came from Villupuram (9) and Thanjavur (3).
However last year, only five students from government schools in the State secured medical seats. Out of the 83,359 people who took the exam in 2017, 32,368 people qualified (38.83 per cent). About 1.14 lakh students from the State took the exam this year and 39.56 per cent were qualified.
Were the coaching classes run by government not useful at all then? Students disagree. A Riaz, a student, who took up the residential course given by the government, scored 153 in NEET-2018. He claimed that coaching was the only reason why he qualified in the exam. “We were made to write at least 10 mock tests and they simulated the exam environment so well that we didn’t panic during the exam,” he said.
While he is uncertain if he will get a medical seat, he said that if he had had extra training, he would have been able to score more. For example, K Keerthana, the NEET topper from Tamil Nadu, told Express that it was a sustained coaching from the beginning of class 11 which helped her score well in the test. “The coaching centre set out a schedule that I promptly followed for two years,” she said adding that last-minute preparations would barely help score well in competitive exams.
The free weekend coaching by the government became fully functional only by February 2018 and even the residential programme was held only for a month. Riaz opined that if the coaching had started from class 11, he would have been able to score much better. However it is unclear at this point if coaching classes would start earlier this year. Officials of the School Education Department were unavailable for comments both in person and through calls.