Chennai: A day after the release of National-Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) examination results, the opposition to the mandatory exam for admission to medical courses once again escalated in Tamil Nadu, following the suicide of a 17-year old student on Monday.
The opposition leader M.K. Stalin has urged the chief ministers of all the southern states, neighbouring Puducherry and West Bengal to oppose the examination as it “puts rural and economically weaker students at a fundamental disadvantage."
He added, “The discrepancies in the translated NEET question papers have discriminated against non-Hindi speaking students. I urge all chief ministers of non-BJP ruling states to join together in opposing this unfair test on this ground also."
A Chennai-based NGO had earlier pointed out 49 translation errors out of 180 questions in the Tamil NEET question paper. It had also stressed that the students who attended the test in Tamil should be given a total of 196 points as grace marks.
The NEET exam conducted in May led to a lot of anguish in the state, as thousands were allotted centres outside Tamil Nadu.
The Madras high court on 27 April directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which conducts NEET, to allot nearby centres. However, the Supreme Court’s order on 3 May, just two days before the exam, stayed the Madras high court’s direction.
While the suicide of a 17-year old student S. Anitha who failed to clear the entrance exam led to widespread protests last year, another student, Prathiba killed herself on Monday night by taking poison. The girl’s parents have alleged that she took the extreme step after scoring 39 marks out of 720. Prathiba had scored 1,125 out of 1200 in her Class XII board examinations.
Tamil Nadu which banned the entrance exams in the state— in 2007— for admissions to medical and engineering colleges and has been admitting students based on the Class XII marks, has been vocal in its opposition against the NEET.
While the state obtained a presidential consent for the bills passed for exemption from NEET for admission to medical courses, the Centre opposed it and the exam has become mandatory in Tamil Nadu since last year.
According to the school education minister K.A. Sengottaiyan, a total of 1,337 students benefitted from the state’s coaching centres for government school students.
In the results that were announced on Monday, less than 40% of the students from the state cleared the entrance test, making it as the state with lowest pass percentage.