MADURAI: With the results of NEET for undergraduate medical courses having been announced on Monday, the report card of Tamil Nadu's performance showed a meagre 0.72% improvement in pass percentage of the State's candidates. The overall pass percentage of NEET candidates from the State stood at 39.56%, lagging behind states like Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh that recorded over 60%. Educationalists feel that the State government has much more to do to boost NEET results.
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduate medical courses was held on May 6 this year. Starting this year, admission into undergraduate AYUSH courses namely Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery (BSMS), Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), Bachelor of Homeopathy Medicine and Surgery (BHMS), Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Medicine (BNYS) and Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) will be carried out on the basis of NEET scores besides MBBS and BDS courses.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) declared the results weeks early this year whereas the results for the examination was announced on June 23 last year.
Last year, eight cities in the State were chosen to be the centres for the examination. Of the total 83,859 Tamil Nadu students who appeared for NEET last year, 32,570 of them were successful in clearing the examination, accounting for a pass percentage of 38.84%.
Meanwhile, this year, the number of cities were increased to ten. However, CBSE drew criticism from all quarters for not making adequate arrangements in creating sufficient number of centres within the State. This fiasco added to the agony of Tamil Nadu students, especially from southern districts as they had to bear the added burden of travelling to another state to take up the examination.
Last year, the NEET candidates were left hanging by a thread till the eleventh hour due to the legal battles between the State and the Centre seeking an exemption. This year, although the State's stand on NEET remained the same, it took efforts to prepare the students to face the examination. At a time when private NEET coaching centres began to mushroom, making a windfall profit, the State stepped in by setting up state-run, free NEET coaching centres across Tamil Nadu.
Akin to the previous year, strict frisking was carried out on NEET candidates at the examination centres. On the day of examination on May 06, 112 students in Madurai and 195 students in Salem started the examination hours late since an exam centre received question papers in Hindi instead of Tamil and due to delayed arrival of the question papers to the centre respectively.
Showing a meagre improvement of 0.72% in the pass percentage, of the total 11,4602 students who appeared for the examination this year, 45,336 students from the State qualified to appear for medical counselling. This accounts for a pass percentage of 39.56%. This comes at a time when Rajasthan 74% and Andhra Pradesh recorded a pass percentage of 73%, Telangana 69%, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar 60% and Madhya Pradesh 51%.
Commenting on the results, D Neduchezian, an educationist said, "The percentage of students who registered to write NEET in Tamil this year was 1.86% while that in last year was 1.33%. However, a careful examination into the NEET results reveal a overall decline in the number of candidates who registered to take up the examination in their vernacular languages across the country. While 9.25% of the total NEET applicants opted to take the NEET in vernacular languages last year, the percentage dipped to 8.98% this year."
This indicates a gradual decline in the number of rural students aspiring to become a doctor in the near future, depriving them of their fair chance to do so, added he.
Educationist Jayaprakash Gandhi, on the other hand was optimistic about the performance of the students from the State. "It may sound 'a mere 0.72% improvement' but it means 13,000 more students will be joining the race to become medical practitioners this year. It is unfair to compare the performance of those from Rajasthan, Bihar, UP as several states have been training students for over a decade now. Whereas, our students have begun to face these kind of exams only now. This year, many students from State Board have fared well.
I see it as a remarkable increase, given the ordeal they had to face due to allotment of centres outside the State and due to the limitations of the old State Board syllabus that was no match for CBSE syllabus."
He, however, has suggestions for the State to improve on NEET coaching, to boost NEET results. "The State must take the help of professors of medical colleges who could train school teachers on NEET coaching for a period of three months. By this way, better NEET coaching by the State can be ensured," Jayaprakash Gandhi pointed.