The Madras High Court had told the CBSE to set up additional exam centres to accommodate all students, but the Supreme Court stayed the order.
The Supreme Court’s stay on the Madras High Court’s directive to the Central Board of Secondary Education to set up additional exam centres in Tamil Nadu for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test has caused outrage the state. More than 1,000 students from Tamil Nadu will be writing the test in centres in Kerala, Karnataka and Rajasthan on Sunday.
After the CBSE allocated students from Tamil Nadu exam centres in Kerala, Karnataka and Rajasthan, a petition was filed in the Madras High Court challenging the decision. The court on April 27 directed the board to set up additional exam centres in the state to accommodate all students from Tamil Nadu. The CBSE went to the Supreme Court just a few days before the exam, and the top court stayed the order.
“Last year 82,000 candidates appeared for NEET from Tamil Nadu itself,” Sanyam Bharadwaj, NEET Director, New Delhi, told The News Minute. “We were able to accommodate all of them within the state. However, this year the number of candidates has risen by 31%.” He said that the number of centres in Tamil Nadu was increased by 25% and that they were asked to accommodate students to their full capacity, after which around 1,10,000 students can be accommodated within the state. The rest, “maybe about 1,000 or 1,500”, will take the test at “the nearest available centres in neighbouring cities”.
Bharadwaj further said that students who have opted to write the test in Tamil have been allotted centres in Tamil Nadu. “Students with centres outside of TN will be given question papers in English, which is what they opted for. Those who are appearing in Delhi or far away cities to write the exam have only been allotted these centres out of their choice.”
Tamil Nadu School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan said only CBSE students were allotted centres outside the state, reported The New Indian Express. “The government will ensure that students of government or government aided schools will get centres in the state itself.” The state announced that it would provide train tickets (second-class) and Rs 1,000 for students who will be travelling outside the state for NEET, reported ANI.
Several Twitter users offered to help those students travelling outside the state to take the exam while some others blamed authorities for the confusion.
NGO writes to PM Narendra Modi, CM Edappadi K Palaniswami on NEET errors, seeks grace mark for students
CHENNAI: Tech4All, a non-profit organisation, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami seeking a solution to students who attempted the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) in Tamil this year. The NGO identified over 60 errors in 49 questions. Totally, there were 180 questions.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, NGO founder G B Ram Prakash said no Tamil student would be able to clear the exam because of the errors. He said as sign of protest, members of his NGO and he would not pay any GST until the Prime Minister responded to his letters.
“A total of 24,500 students have been affected due to the errors in question paper. Innocent students cannot be penalised for government’s fault,” he said, adding that all students who took the test in Tamil must be given 196 grace marks to compensate for the errors.
Tech4All is an organisation that provides technology-based solution for common man’s problems.
The members of the NGO had launched an online virtual NEET crash course for students below poverty line.
“There is no standardisation of technical words and the words that were in the test paper were not found in their textbooks. There is no NCERT textbook in Tamil. Long term solutions should concentrate on this problem,” he said.
Prakash claimed individual students do not have the capacity to legally fight this case. “We will approach this issue legally, but we also want our leaders to directly find remedies for issues that affect so many children,” he said. He met with members of opposition parties in the State seeking solidarity.
CPM knocks on PMO door for early assent to NEET Bills
Urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to forward the two Bills sent for Presidential assent to his office immediately, the CPM State Committee on Saturday said the Bills seeking NEET exemption for Tamil Nadu students had been pending with the Centre for the past 15 months.
In a representation to Modi, CPM State secretary K Balakrishnan explained how NEET would not suit the students of Tamil Nadu and quoted legal aspects in this regard.
Pointing out the provisions of the Constitution giving the right to the State legislature to make laws to safeguard the interests of the people of Tamil Nadu, he said, “We request the Centre to immediately forward the two Acts – the Tamil Nadu Admission to MBBS and BDS Courses Act, 2017, and Tamil Nadu Admission to Postgraduate Courses in Medicine and Dentistry Act, 2017 – to the President and ensure that he gives his assent at the earliest.”
The regional languages in India hold greater sanctity when it comes to political battles in the country, but for educational use, English supersedes all other languages including Hindi. It’s not a new fact that has surfaced, but with the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) exam, this conjecture got further cemented as out of 13 lakh students who appeared for the NEET exam only 8 per cent wrote their medical entrance exam in regional languages.
The latest data has found only 8% of over 13 lakh aspirants wrote the medical entrance exam in regional languages, with a vast majority using English.
The government is likely to rethink the number of regional languages that aspirants can give the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) in, since the medium of instruction later has to be English. The move comes after a slight dip was observed in the number of aspirants taking the medical entrance test in regional languages this year compared to the last. As per latest data from the CBSE, which conducts NEET, over 10 lakh of the 13,26,725 students who appeared for the exam this year used English, around one lakh used Hindu, while the rest used other languages like Assamese, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Oriya, Bengali, Urdu, Telugu and Kannada.
In percentage terms, the number of candidates appearing in regional languages has dropped from 10 per cent to 8 per cent, with Oriya and Bengali seeing the biggest fall. Among the regional languages, the most popular medium remains Gujarati, while Urdu, the latest to enter the fray after a petition in the Supreme Court, found only 1,700 takers.
Decision will take some time
“There was a huge demand from various states for including regional languages in NEET, since many states conducted their own medical entrance exams in their respective languages before it became centralised,” a senior official in the Directorate of Health Services said.
“However, if the numbers in regional languages are not many and students start getting comfortable with English, we might just revert to English,” the official said. Some regional languages, however, have to be included because the Supreme Court had given an order to this effect, the officer clarified.
“We will see how it goes, and take a decision on the languages in the coming years,” the official said.
“This is only until the entrance examination level. Once a student is selected to a college, he/she will have to study in English only. For students from regional languages, the Medical Council of India will have a two-month foundation course to make them familiar with some terms which they might be unfamiliar with.”
Even as the government rethinks the issue, people who teach in regional languages say it is a way to provide equal footing to students.
Complaining of mismanagement at the centre for NEET, a student knocked the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court’s doors, praying for reconducting the exam or grant of average marks. The exam was conducted nationwide on May 6.
A single judge vacation bench comprising justice Murlidhar Giratkar issued notices to Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), District NEET exam committee and Adarsh Sanskar Vidyalaya at Hudkeshwar, which was allotted as centre of examination to the petitioner. The respondents were asked to file a reply before May 18.
Petitioner Vaishnavi Maniyar, through counsel Mugdha Chandurkar, contended that she and 22 other students at the centre were handed over the paper 30 minutes late than the scheduled time. After the bell rang at scheduled time 1pm, they requested for compensatory time of 30 minutes, due to the late start. However, the invigilator ignored all their pleas and withdrew the answer sheets from them and also told them to vacate the hall.
The students then immediately apprised the centre head of the fiasco and raised a complaint. When they failed to get any feedback, they went to the collectorate, under which the district NEET exam coordination committee was functioning. An e-mail in this regard was sent to the CBSE, the regulatory body of NEET, but no response was received.
As the results are scheduled on June 8, the petitioner has moved to HC, citing her petition as an urgent matter concerning crucial issue of professional education. She prayed for directing the respondents for at least granting average marks for the injustice meted out to them.
Says some of the measures are unethical and violative of the right to dignity
A day after it issued a notice to the authorities on the hardships faced by the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) aspirants from Tamil Nadu reaching and appearing in exam centres located in other States, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday issued notices to authorities over alleged harassment and inconvenience caused to students as they were put through rigorous security checks.
Taking suo motu cognisance of media reports, the Commission has issued notices to the Chairperson, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), and the Chief Secretary of the Tamil Nadu government calling for detailed reports over the issue within six weeks.
“Cutting the sleeves of the shirts and tearing the pants of the aspirants to remove buttons etc. are unethical acts done by the staff deployed at the exam centres. This amounts to violation of the right to dignity of the aspirants,” the Commission said and further observed there was a “need for the authorities to re-think and adopt certain mechanism to ensure security checks at the exam centres in a dignified manner.
The CBSE authorities should chalk out a plan by inviting suggestions from experts and develop a more effective procedure for security checks at the exam centres, the Commission noted.
The instructions should also be sufficiently publicised so that the aspirants could be spared of last-minute harassment, it added.
According to media reports, the hair bands of girl aspirants were removed at the exam centres and Muslim girl aspirants were not allowed to wear the traditional cloth to cover their head and face.
In some cases, male aspirants were also asked to remove the sacred threads (poonool).