DC Edit | Thorough probe vital on NEET; overhaul if needed

By :  DC Comment
Update: 2024-06-17 19:33 GMT
Students stage a protest outside the Ministry of Education over the alleged irregularities in NEET 2024 results, in New Delhi, Friday, June 14, 2024. (PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore)

The skeletons various state police teams which investigate irregularities related to the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical admissions in the country discover in the cupboards call for a comprehensive nation-wide criminal investigation into the whole affair. They also force rethinking on the conduct of the examination by the National Testing Agency (NTA), which must pertain not only to the process but also of the very idea, given the opposition by several states on valid grounds.

The Bihar and Gujarat police have unearthed clues that point to the possibility of a fraud having been performed in the conduct of NEET this time around. These revelations add to the doubts the stakeholders, mainly students, have about the test after the very arbitrary decision of the NTA to award grace marks which helped a set of candidates make it to the top of the rank list. That the NTA decided to scrap decision based on the recommendations of an expert academic committee and ordered retest for them does not wash away the suspicions about the process .

It is unfortunate that the government is in denial mode: Education minister Dharmendra Pradhan would contend that there has been no evidence of a leakage of question papers though reports in public domain suggest to the contrary. In fact, the Supreme Court had said in so any words that the sanctity of the examination has already been compromised.

This would necessitate immediate and urgent action by the Union government. One of it is the takeover of the investigation which need not be limited to one or two states; it must be conducted in such a manner that it will restore people’s faith in the government-run system. Several people have approached the apex court for a court-monitored investigation, which is another option. Whichever be the investigation, it should be able to unearth foul play, if any, and bring the perpetrators before the law.

Indian institutions have been conducting nation-wide competitive examinations for decades without a hitch: the IIT joint entrance examinations and the entrance tests for admissions in All India Institute of Medical Sciences are two prime examples. Despite the expertise available on call, the NTA has put itself under the cloud of suspicion not only because of the allegations of question paper leak but also its decision to grant grace marks in a stealthy way. The government must put in place mechanisms so that none dare take such decisions.

It must be remembered that several states have raised objections to the national level test saying it gives undue advantage to students from privileged class. The Tamil Nadu government had recently released the report of a judicial commission, which after a study, found that rural and Tamil-medium students and those from lower income and socially disadvantaged families are discriminated against in medical admissions, thanks to NEET. It is important that there must be a transparent system to make medical admissions but it cannot be at the cost of social justice.

It is time the government took every stakeholder into confidence and initiated a process that will culminate in a transparent, non-discriminatory and fair process for medical admissions in the country.

Similar News