NEET 2018: Same question paper in vernacular languages will ensure uniformity, end discrimination, say students, experts

CBSE has said that question papers in vernacular languages will be mere translation of the English paper has brought relief for medical aspirants.

Published: 25th January 2018 10:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th January 2018 10:11 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The undertaking given by the Central Board of Secondary Education, which conducts the National Eligibility and Entrance Test—saying that question papers in vernacular languages will be mere translation of the English paper has brought relief for medical aspirants.

Students and experts said that the decision should lead to a uniformity in the difficulty level and end discrimination faced by examinees in some states.

Last year, NEET (UG), the pre-medical test for admission into MBBS and BDS courses in the country, had seen question papers with different set of questions in some vernacular languages leading to charges that the ones in English and Hindi were easier as compared to other languages.

The test was held in ten languages -Hindi, English, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya and Kannada- last year and while Hindi paper was exact translation of the English paper—all other papers were different from the English paper in varying degrees.

“In Bengal and Gujarat, particularly, this difference was starkest as many felt that the question paper in Bengali and was a bit tougher while the one in Gujarati was easier even though some Gujarati students cried foul and approached the state High Court,” a senior official in the UG section of the Medical Council of India, the medical education regulator, told The New Indian Express.

“The difference became apparent as those who wrote the examination in English in these states faced different level of difficulty,” he added.

MCI vice president C V Bhiramanandam said that the NEET will not achieve its aim of a single standard pre-medical test unless there is there is “exactly the same examination for all examinees and some students will also feel discriminated against.”

The board in its submission in the Supreme Court had said last year that different question papers in different languages were aimed “preventing the leakage aspect as involving subject experts in translation would have increased the chances of proliferation.” The argument however did not cut ice with many.

Sources in the CBSE conceded that last year, there were issued with finding “authentic translators and therefore we relied heavily on question banks based on old question banks from previous years’ pre-medical tests in some states.”

“However, this year even though examination is to be conducted in one more language—Urdu—this problem of translators should not be there this year,” said an official.

Teachers and students, too, said that it made more sense to have similar level of difficulty for all examinees.

“To prevent leaks, what the CBSE can do is different numbering of questions and answer keys—that should solve the problem to a large extent,” suggested Amit Gupta, a NEET teacher in Kota, Rajasthan.

Harshit Nath Gupta, a NEET aspirant from Vrindavan, UP said that “it would be unfair if students in some states get easier or tougher questions as compared to others.”


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