Skip to main content

Testing times on NEET (Hindu.)

 It is a measured gambit by Tamil Nadu. The State has taken the legislative route to grant itself exemption from the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), a uniform examination that will decide admission to medical courses all over the country. The two Bills passed by the State Assembly seek to retain its present admission system for under-graduate and post-graduate medical courses based on marks obtained by students in their higher secondary school examination. The Bills are likely to displease the Supreme Court, which insists that NEET marks be the sole basis for admission. The Bills will also require the President’s assent; else they would be repugnant to the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act and the Dentists Act that prescribe the entrance test. Tamil Nadu, which abolished entrance examinations to professional courses in 2006, argues that NEET would be traumatic for both parents and children, as it would be based on a syllabus different from the one taught in schools under the board for higher secondary education. The fear is that NEET would be insurmountable for students from rural areas and under-privileged backgrounds and those who cannot afford coaching centres. Its concern that urban students, especially those from streams such as the CBSE, would dominate admissions under NEET cannot be dismissed easily.

Regulations introducing NEET were struck down by a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in 2013 by a two-one majority. Last year, a five-judge Bench recalled the verdict and NEET was back in place. Students all over the country were gripped by anxiety and tension following the sudden change in the admission method. The Centre promulgated an ordinance to grant relief for under-graduate medical admissions in 2016, but no such protection is available this year. There is now an inevitable conflict between the need for a fair and transparent admission system to curb rampant commercialisation of medical education and the socio-economic goals of the State, which is worried about producing enough committed doctors ready to serve in rural areas. Both objectives are indeed laudable. However, a moot question is whether uniformity should be thrust on a country that has wide regional, economic and linguistic disparities. Normally it is the political leadership, and not the courts, that should harmonise such differences and evolve a viable admission policy. At the same time, States cannot remain forever insulated from the need to upgrade educational standards. It may be easy to advise the courts to keep out of the policy domain, but a more difficult task is for institutions in the government and the private sector to maintain standards and pass the court’s triple test of fairness, transparency and freedom from exploitation.


Popular posts from this blog

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…

The Chipko movement as it stands today

The idea behind the Chipko movement originated in early 1970s from Mandal, a village in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Forty-three years later, Down To Earth travelled to Chamoli and Tehri Garhwal and spoke to the participants of this movement about its relevance today