NEW DELHI: The Union government, three days after announcing that the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) from this year will also take state curricula into consideration, on Saturday took a U-turn and declared that the syllabus of the examination will remain exactly the same as last year.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the body under the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development that conducts NEET, put out a public notice which said: “The syllabus of NEET (UG), 2018 will be exactly same as it was for NEET, 2017. There is no change in syllabus for NEET, 2018.”
The official notification for the entrance test—that will include date sheet and other details—however, is yet to come out.
On Wednesday, Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, while talking to The New Indian Express, had said that to put an end to the disadvantages faced by students of state boards, the NEET papers from this year, will also take various state syllabi into account.
Government sources, however, said that the change in stance comes following angry responses from students and guardians from across India who protested the proposal to change the syllabus a few months ahead of the examination—the entrance for MBBS and BDS courses in the country.
A group of parents had also met Javadekar in Pune on Friday to register their protest on the proposal.
“We will now stick to the same syllabus and there will not be any further review of any portion on which examination papers are based,” an official in the HRD ministry said.
“The decision to issue the notice through the CBSE was taken to pacify anxious parents and students after the Medical Council of India and health ministry, too, raised concerns on the proposed last-minute tweak in the syllabus.”
The decision brought a sigh of relief for hundreds of thousands of NEET aspirants and their parents.
“We are greatly relieved that on this issue good sense has prevailed and the government has now withdrawn its earlier stance,” said Jasmine Gogri, mother of a NEET aspirant in Mumbai, who along with many others had written a letter to Javadekar.
“Ever since the NEET has come into existence the authorities have been toying around with rules and norms but they should realise that medical education in this country is a very sensitive issue and the governments and policymakers should think about students’ interests rather than politics,” she added.
A senior member of Medical Council of India, who was instrumental in drafting the NEET structure in 2009, told this newspaper that any efforts to change NEET syllabus—which is largely based on NCERT books- will lead to losing its objective of “bringing uniformity in a standard pre-medical test for all medical colleges.”
“The NEET syllabus is based on CBSE and common portions in other state syllabi. When students from across the country can write the civil service examination based on a standard syllabus, why can’t they adhere to a common syllabus for NEET?” he asked.