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NEET will end evil practice of capitation fee

By Dr. C.N. Ashwathnarayan
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The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) that has been launched as a "One Nation one Exam" philosophy seems to be mired in the misconception that the initiative will do more harm than good. In reality, this proposal is beneficial to students as it provides a level playing field to all aspiring medical and dental students and ensures a transparent and uniform testing based on a single syllabus.

NEET will end evil practice of capitation fee

Conducting a single window entrance exam will get rid of the multiple states and private medical exams. Earlier, students had to undergo the pressure of appearing for various entrance exams to try to better their chances for admission to a medical college. NEET relieves this pressure of appearing for multiple exams in the future and enables students to focus their effort on only one standardized exam.

Moreover, a single system of ranking will bring about transparency in the system and will provide students access to any medical college across the Country despite their domicile State. With a single exam, the question of clashing exam dates and counselling dates will not arise. The exam is currently offered in 10 Indian languages and the papers are directly translated from the English paper to ascertain that there are no discrepancies and that all attending the exam irrespective of their medium of instruction are tested on a uniform basis. However, there needs to be better coordination between the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC), the medical colleges and the State Governments with regards allotment of seats in the seat matrix.

Most importantly, the NEET initiative is a response to the admission related corruption that has been prevalent in private medical institutions. NEET will ensure that only meritorious and deserving candidates will become future doctors and dentists.

The only opposition to this good initiative seems to be coming from dubious private run medical colleges that have been set up mainly as a black market in exchange for "direct admission to medical college!' If one has to believe news reports, back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate Rs. 12,000 Crore in hard cash exchanges hands in this black market every year! Many of these private medical colleges claim that they have stringent admission guidelines and conduct their own entrance exams. However, in most cases, these exams are just a facade and students who pay money to buy seats are admitted irrespective of their performance in the entrance test while the meritorious students are bumped off. The admission processes in these colleges is a charade as it is not the credibility of the student that decides admission of the candidate but the capitation fees the parents can cough up!

Obviously an initiative like NEET that ensures admission to deserving students will have a shattering effect on those private colleges that have traditionally looted parents off lakhs of rupees in the name of capitation fee. NEET is a threat to the existence of such colleges as it will lead to shutting down their businesses!

The existing system for admission to medical education in India is seriously flawed with many seats being "bought" for a huge capitation fee. A surgical strike like NEET is the way forward to streamline and reform medical education.

(Dr. C.N. Ashwathnarayan is a BJP MLA from Malleshwaram, Bengaluru)

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