NEET - Relevance & Open Questions

In our previous blog It's a NEET game, we highlighted the key reasons why the NEET entrance exam was brought back. We also highlighted some of the impact that NEET would have on you as an aspirant or a parent.  If you missed that, click here to read.

Having dealt with the basics, we now put forth some of the key advantages and drawbacks of NEET.

The Pluses:

  • Lesser number of exams to take  -  Single point of entry enables students to conserve their energies on cracking the test rather than in planning to appear for multiple tests.  Theoretically, this should help in maintaining focus and do better.
  • Single yardstick - Everyone to be judged on the same base.  Varying degrees of difficulties of different tests makes it impossible to guage relative merit of one candidate vis-a-vis another.
  • Lower application costs: Multiple entrance exams means applying to tens of exams, each having their own application fee.  Parents are likely to save thousands of rupees of application fee going forward.
  • End of Capitation fee - A key factor driving the government to implement NEET was to eliminate the practise of charging capitation fee by private institutes which runs into tens of lakhs per seat.  
  • On-time commencement of Programs  -  Institutes will no longer have to adjust their admissions based on timlelines of other entrance exams.  Countrywide admissions are likely to happen during a given period and the programs are likely to start within August.
  • Lower admission churn - Instances of students vacating seats after taking admissions in institutes is liley to reduce considerably.  This is likely to improve seat utilizations of institutes.
  • Survival of the fittest - Institiutes will be more likely to bring improvements into their infrastructure and faculty in order to attract top talent, which in-turn would help improve overall quality of medical education


The Negatives:

  • High risk gamble - Students now would be risking their entire year on their performance in the single entrance test.  Even having a bad headache for those 3 hours on test day is likely to set the candidate's aspirations back by one year.
  • Increased stress - There is no Plan A or Plan B available.  Failure to perform on test day could have serious impact on morale and psyche of the candidate.
  • No money saved - Institutions could start charging application fee even while applying via NEET scores.  As on date, there is no law prohibiting institutes from charging such application fees.
  • Disadvantage to non-CBSE board students - Less than 10% of Class XI & XII students follow CBSE board in India.  This would leave 90% of the aspirants at a disadvantage in taking up NEET since syllabi of different boards vary.  Unless the curriculum across 40+ boards in India are aligned, NEET will end up benefiting CBSE curriculum students.
  • Benefits only upper & middle class - Many states such as Tamil Nadu allocate seats based on 10+2 marks. Such states argue that thier 10+2 system allows poor students to turn achievers.  With NEET many such poor students are likely to get sidelined.
  • Cram-shops to gain - Reliance on cracking a single high risk entrance exam is likely to drive many aspirants to coaching centres and cram shops. Students and parents who cannot afford expensive coaching classes are likely to be impacted.

Depending upon your background, educational, economic and social levels, you may choose to favour or oppose NEET as the case may be.  However, the looming question is the following:  

In a large and diverse country like ours with multiple ethnicity, religious affiliations, numerous castes, tens of languages, cultures, 40+ state education board with varying curriculum can we claim that a single mechanism like NEET is going to address, with equity, the asipartions and concerns of millions of students?