The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a batch of appeals by states seeking to conduct their own medical admission tests and ruled that “only NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) would enable students to get admission to MBBS or BDS studies”, bringing the curtains down on an issue that had students and parents worried and confused.
So how do medical admissions happen this year?
After the Supreme Court order, NEET is the country’s sole medical entrance examination, through which all medical colleges, run by the central and state governments, as well as private institutions and minority institutions, will admit students. As per the court’s order, the CBSE pre-medical test that was given on May 1 will be treated as the first phase of the NEET, with the second phase scheduled for July 24. Aspirants who did not take the May 1 examination too can sit for it. This two-phase system is only for this year; next year onward, there will be only one examination.
Can students who appeared for NEET I appear for NEET II?
The court had initially said NEET II would only be for students who had not appeared for the exam’s first phase. It subsequently revised its stand, and said that any of the approximately 6.25 lakh students who had taken phase 1 of the exam could, if they wished, sit for phase 2 as well — however, their score for NEET I would not, then, be valid. The number of students who will sit for NEET II will be clear after the final applications are in, but assuming that 30%-40% of students who sat for the May 1 examination might want to take another shot, the Health Ministry is looking at a turnout of between 8 lakh and 8.5 lakh students in July. In 2013, the only year in which NEET happened, 7.75 lakh students had taken the test before it was junked by an order of the Supreme Court.
How will state governments fill the 85% quota in their own medical colleges through an all-India test?
Those who appear for NEET II will have to furnish domicile details, and separate all-India and state merit lists will be prepared to ensure that during counselling, state governments are able to fill seats in their medical colleges as per the existing reservation and other criteria. “There is no confusion, NEET will function exactly like the international entrance examinations like GMAT etc., and it will not encroach upon the prerogative of state governments to admit students as per their preferred profile, based on sex, minority or domicile status, as the case may be. Like in the case of GMAT, a student will apply to individual colleges with the same score. Other criteria can be sorted out at the time of counselling, but there will be no dilution of existing quotas,” a senior official in the Health Ministry said.
Is the date for NEET II final?
The Supreme Court has given CBSE the option of postponing the July 24 examination if it feels the need. However, Health Ministry sources say the Centre would like to complete counselling before the September 30 deadline, and would not want the schedule tweaked. If the examination is on schedule, the results will be out by August 17. Counselling will happen in four stages, two each by the central government and state governments. Available seats will be advertised at each stage and additional eligibility criteria, if any, specified. Candidates will appear for counselling and, based on the merit list and their choices, will be assigned to medical colleges. The process will take 40-45 days in all.
Why was NEET junked the last time?
More than 80 cases were filed across the country opposing NEET in 2013, including by private and minority institutions who wanted to retain greater say in the quality of students that they admitted. In the tumult, results of NEET PG had to be withheld. All cases were transferred to the Supreme Court, which scrapped the common entrance examination. That order was recalled earlier this year, and NEET has been reinstated.