MEDICAL ASPIRANTS in the state, who will take the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) in May, are concerned as they can take the test at only six designated centres. The test will be held across six cities — Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Nashik and Thane.
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Representatives of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) wrote to Health Education Minister Girish Mahajan Monday to increase the number of centres to benefit aspirants from rural Maharashtra. As NEET has replaced the common entrance test conducted by the state from this year, over 2.5 lakh students are expected to take the test. However, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has allocated centres in only six cities. The concentration of the centres in the cities would be disadvantageous to the aspirants from rural regions, said the ABVP.
In its letter to Mahajan, the student body has demanded at least one centre in each district. “Students from the mofussil towns will have to travel to reach their centres. This will not only cause financial burden but will also result in mental stress to the aspirants,” said Rohit Chandode, Mumbai secretary of ABVP.
The centres are decided by the CBSE. Mahajan assured the ABVP that the state would write to the CBSE on this. Last year, the CBSE had allotted only four centres in the state for NEET, an increase from two centres for the erstwhile All India Pre-Medical Test.
The CBSE agreed to increase the centres to six after much persuasion by the Directorate of Medical Education and Research. “The CBSE agreed to have only as many centres as they can control,” said Pravin Shinghare, Director, DMER. He said having more centres could increase the risk of question paper leaks and security breaches. ”The board has deliberately provided fewer number of centres as it is easier to control… Since it is a centrally-held examination, it is important to keep a tab on the security,” he said.