The state has registered an increase in the number of students from Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) schools cracking the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) this year. Unlike last year when 80 per cent of the medical and dental seats, filled through NEET, were taken up by GSHSEB students, this year, the number has increased to 87.13 per cent.
In 2017, 2,839 students had secured seats out of the total 3,551 MBBS seats. In 2018, 3,354 students had got seats in medical and dental colleges out of the total 3,849 seats.
While the state government attributed this increase to various measures like special lectures through Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG) and question banks prepared by Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB), it should be noted that this year was the first time that the students got Gujarati question papers, which were verbatim translations of the English question papers.
Last year, the Gujarati question papers were not the exact translation of the English papers, and were allegedly tougher.
State Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said that efforts taken by his department in the recent years have resulted in an increase in the number of students from state board cracking the NEET. Among the efforts, he said, were special guidance and lectures by science experts telecast through BISAG to help Class XII students.
“After repeated requests by the state government, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducted NEET by translating question papers in Gujarati language this year. Thus, the question banks prepared and published in 2017 by GSSTB in Gujarati were of great help to students,” Chudasama said.
NEET was mired in controversy in Gujarat last year. Students had alleged that Gujarati language question papers were tougher than and different from English language question papers. Following the controversy, the state government had intervened, and the matter had also reached the HRD Minister, who was requested to sort out the issue. The controversy went on for months and Gujarati-medium students were even hopeful that the NEET would be cancelled and their admissions will be on pro-rata basis. To avoid such controversies, from this year, the Gujarati-medium question paper was a verbatim translation of the English language question paper. NEET, for MBBS and BDS courses, is conducted by the CBSE.
For all these years, the GSHSEB curriculum was blamed for not following the CBSE pattern. This was the main reason behind introduction of NCERT textbooks across all classes in GSHSEB schools this year.