Age cap and attempts limitation on NEET no more: SC

NEETNo cap on age limit or number of attempts for NEET, Supreme Court ordered last week. NEET is a National Eligibility cum Entrance Test which was introduced in 2013 as a common test for admissions in top State run and private medical colleges. This exam has previously been challenged for several reasons, however, this time the aspiring students challenged a recent order of the government capping the age limit as well as the number of attempts for this entrance.

The government issued an executive order capping the age of students at 25 as well as limiting the number of attempts to three for entry into undergraduate medical schools. Both these decisions were taken on the recommendations of Medical Council of India however the decision was soon challenged in the court of law. Pursuant to the challenge, Supreme Court appointed a panel headed by former chief justice RM Lodha.

“The oversight committee felt such limitations will reduce the number of doctors in the country. The Union Health Ministry agreed and suggested recommendation to us. We have passed it,” said MCI vice-president Dr CV Bhirmanandham.

Dr Pravin Shingare, director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) also approved the decision by the panel stating, “The move will help bring better quality candidates in medical education because we know of cases where a student has appeared for the entrance test almost ten times, and then passed. This cannot be allowed as it compromises with the quality we hope the candidates to have.”

The panel came up with the recommendation on February 28 against the decision of MCI taken this January. The notification will soon be sent to all the states and the Supreme Court will then review the suggestions made by Lodha Committee on March 20. While the attempt to clean the admission process through restrictions in undergraduate medical colleges was a good thought however what cannot be overlooked is the kind of maturity and preparation this exam needs. Our country needs quality doctors, who require better preparation to sit for an exam like NEET.

Students and parents have been appreciating the move but they are also worried about the delay being caused in the registration for NEET exam this year. “The process starts in mid- December but we have not heard from the authorities yet. We hope that they are not planning to start the process when our children will be busy with their class XII exams, which starts in February,” a parent said showing his concern for children.

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