TIRUCHY/CHENNAI:“I don’t understand anything in this,” said a perplexed S Selvamani, looking at last year’s All India Pre Medical Test paper when Express spoke to her on May 1. The burden of clearing a national entrance exam conducted in English, based on CBSE curriculum, had almost smashed the dreams of this Tamil medium student from a village near Tiruchy. She need not fret any longer.
The Union Cabinet on Friday approved an ordinance to keep Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Punjab out of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) ambit, for one academic year. The ordinance sent to President Pranab Mukherjee aims to “partially” overturn the Supreme Court verdict, which said all government colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges would be covered under NEET from this year.
Selvamani was jubilant when Express broke the news to her. “I can’t describe how ecstatic I am. I am now confident that students like me from rural hamlets who studied in Tamil medium would get an equal opportunity to study medicine,” she said. With a total score of 1125 on 1200, Selvamani hopes to make a neat and easy entry into a medical college.
Thousands of students, across the State echoed Selvamani. “I am extremely happy. If we had been told to prepare for NEET a year ago, then it would have been fair. Just two months to cover so many chapters is impossible for us,” said Chennai-based student Sri Meera. “The Supreme Court’s NEET order came as a shock; I’m glad I can stop worrying about it now. At least a one year reprieve will help the next batch of students to be better prepared,” said V Sudarshan, also based in Chennai.
Not all students were happy though. “I am really upset that the exam got cancelled. NEET would have opened up options to apply to many more government colleges across India. Now our options are restricted to mostly private institutions across Tamil Nadu,” said B Priyanka.
In the run up to the Assembly elections, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had promised to pass a legislation that would nullify the apex court’s NEET fiat for good. The decision on the ordinance was made after representations from states at a ministerial meeting on May 16 where they expressed their inability to conduct the entrance exam this year citing reasons, including a different syllabus.
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