Why Tamil Nadu govt opposes the NEET exam, what the Rajan Committee said on its impact

In the midst of the outcry over the NEET-UG results announced on June 4, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin remarked on Sunday that his administration was the “first to foresee the hazards of NEET” and “undertook a large-scale campaign against it”.

The results, published 10 days ahead of the scheduled date, have been questioned for several reasons: the unusually large number of candidates — 67, compared to at most three in the previous five years — who secured the top rank with the maximum possible score; ‘grace marks’ were awarded to some 1,500 candidates for “loss of time”; and 44 of the toppers receiving grace marks for getting an answer wrong only because a version of a Class 12 NCERT textbook had an inaccuracy. The National Testing Agency (NTA), which runs NEET-UG, and the Education Ministry have formed a committee to analyze the results of individuals who received grace marks. Congress lawmakers have sought for a Supreme Court-supervised investigation, while Maharashtra’s Medical Education Minister has requested that the results be canceled. Some candidates have moved to the High Court.

Stalin’s statements

In a post on X (previously Twitter), Stalin stated: “After assuming power [in 2021], we formed a High-Level Committee led by Justice A K Rajan to investigate the impact of the NEET-based admission procedure. The Committee’s report, which is based on comprehensive data analysis and input from students, parents, and the general public, has been published and sent to various state governments to highlight NEET’s anti-poor and anti-social justice tendencies.”

What the Committee Found

NEET is an all-India competitive test for admission to medical, dentistry, and AYUSH programs in government and private universities throughout India. This year, around 24 lakh students applied for little more than 1 lakh MBBS seats in 700-plus medical institutions. The Rajan Committee discovered that when NEET was implemented in 2017-18, fewer students from rural regions, those learning in Tamil, those from low-income households, and those from Tamil Nadu state board schools were admitted to the state’s medical institutions.

* While English-medium students had more seats even before NEET, their share increased after NEET, while Tamil-medium students’ proportion decreased. From 2010-11 to 2016-17, English-medium students received between 80.2% and 85.12% of medical college seats, whereas Tamil-medium students received 19.79% in 2010-11 and just 14.88% in 2016-17. In the four years after 2017-18 (when NEET was implemented), the proportion of Tamil-medium students in medical college seats varied from 1.6% to 3.27%. And the proportion of English-medium pupils increased from 85.12% in 2016-17 to 98.41% in 2017-18, reaching 98.01% in 2020-21.

* Between 2010-11 and 2016-17, students from rural regions received 61.5% of available places in government medical institutions. In 2020-21, the figure had dropped to 49.91%. In contrast, the proportion of students from metropolitan regions in government medical institutions increased from an average of 38.55% in the pre-NEET years to 50.09% in 2020-21.

* According to the Rajan Committee, the proportion of students from higher-income households grew after NEET, while that of students from lower-income families fell. Students with parents earning less than Rs 2.5 lakh per year received an average of 41% of admissions prior to NEET, however this ratio dropped to 36% in the post-NEET years. For pupils whose parents earned more than Rs 2.5 lakh per year, these figures were 58% and 62% on average in the pre-NEET and post-NEET eras, respectively.

* According to the Committee, CBSE students gained an advantage over Tamil Nadu state board students following the NEET. The percentage of candidates from state board schools decreased from nearly 95% on average in the pre-NEET years to 64.27% in 2020-21, while applications from CBSE schools surged from an average of 3.17% pre-NEET to 32.26% in 2020-21. The proportion of CBSE students admitted to government medical institutions climbed from 0.13% in 2010-11 to 26.83% in 2020-21, whereas the proportion of state board students decreased from 71.73% to 43.13% during the same time.

* The study said that “the argument that the NEET mark, as opposed to HSC (higher secondary certificate of the state board) mark tests the standard of the student and signifies merit is a baseless argument” . It was noticed that prior to NEET, the average HSC score of students admitted to MBBS courses was 98.16%, compared to 89.05% after NEET.

* Regarding the influence of coaching institutes on admissions, the research said that 99% of students who obtained admissions in 2019-20 had training prior to NEET.

Panel’s recommendations

After concluding that NEET had “undermined the diverse societal representation in MBBS and higher medical studies” and favored wealthier parts of society, the Committee urged the state to take immediate steps to remove NEET from the admission process. It suggested that HSC results, “normalised” to guarantee equality between boards, be used as entrance criteria. It further said that “socio-economic and other demographic adversities” that may result in poor performance in the upper secondary examination should be discovered, and that “re-profiling of scores” should be done within the framework of a “adversity score”.

Following the report

Stalin added in his X post that, according on the report’s recommendations, the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill seeking exemption from NEET. It is presently seeking Presidential approval, following an excessive delay by the Tamil Nadu Governor’s office.” The Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill was passed by the Assembly in 2021, returned by the Governor in 2022, and then passed again by the Assembly the same year. It allows for admission to undergraduate medical, dental, and homeopathic programs based on Class 12 grades.


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