NEET SS 2021 exam pattern change: NBE Proposes to Defer test to January 2022
New Delhi: Advocating for the changes in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Super Specialty (NEET-SS) 2021 examination pattern, the National Board of Examinations (NBE) in a recent affidavit has proposed postponing the exam by two months.
Requesting the top court to allow holding the examination on January 10-11, 2022, instead of in November this year, the NBE has stressed the fact that the changed pattern allows flexibility and has been made to ensure that the prestigious Super Specialty seats do not remain vacant, reports Live Law.
The Apex Court bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna has scheduled the case for further hearing on October 4.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that around 41 qualified post-graduate doctors across India recently knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court as they expressed their strong objection to the abrupt last-minute changes in the NEET-SS 2021 exam pattern.
Filed through Advocate Javedur Rahman, the petition sought to strike down the changes claiming that the changes are manifestly arbitrary and also there is lack of authority for implementing the changes.
The doctors argued that even though the dates of the NEET SS 2021 exam was announced on July 23, 2021 the changed pattern was made known to the public after more than one month had passed, i.e. on August 31, 2021. Thus, the changes were made only two months before the exam which is scheduled to be held on November 13 and 14.
Further, it was also submitted that the previous pattern was in place for the last three years and previously, when changes were made in the pattern or the scheme, candidates were made aware of the same at least 6 months before the exam in order to make sure that the candidates get ample time to prepare.
In fact, the counsel appearing for the petitioner doctors also argued that the last-minute changes in the exam pattern have put the students from disciplines other than general medicine at a disadvantageous position. In the previous pattern, 60 per cent marks were allotted to questions in the super-specialty while 40 per cent from feeder courses. However, as per the changed pattern, the entirety of the questions for the critical care super specialty would be drawn from general medicines.
During the last date of hearing the Supreme Court bench had slammed the NBE and NMC for making changes in the test pattern after the students started preparing for it and had asked why the changes couldn't be enforced from the following year.
"Why has the notice been issued? Students start preparing for super specialty courses months & months in advance. Why is the need to change the same last minute before the exam? Why can you not proceed with the changes from the following year?" court had asked NBE.
At that time, the Court had also quoted saying, "Don't treat this young doctors as footballs in the game of power. Hold the meeting and put your house on order. We can't put these doctors at the mercy of insensitive bureaucrats".
However, in the recent affidavit, the National Board of Examinations (NBE) has tried to defend the changes in the exam pattern and has proposed giving the candidates with some time to prepare in accordance with the new scheme. For this, the NBE has sought permission from the top court bench to defer the examination by two months and hold the same on January 10-11, 2022, adds Live Law.
"It is respectfully submitted that in terms of the revised scheme, the candidates are going to be tested / adjudged on the curriculum which they have already studied in their post-graduation course and have qualified the final examinations of their respective universities based on the same curriculum. Therefore, the modified scheme has not mandated the applicant candidates to study something different from which they have not studied already," the NBE stated in the affidavit as per the daily.
The affidavit further mentioned, "...the earlier scheme/pattern required the candidates to appear in a question paper which would consist of 60% questions from the super specialty chosen by the candidate. The contradiction was that the candidates were being examined in the super-specialty subject which they would otherwise be studying after qualifying the NEET-SS. This pattern made the candidates divert their focus from their post-graduate studies and to start preparing for super specialty subjects while and at cost of undergoing their PG training".
Further stating that as previous scheme ensured that most of the questions were from the Super Specialty courses opted by the students, the NBE has pointed out that it was leading to vacancies in several "precious Super Specialty" seats.
The daily further adds that there are around 45 super specialty subjects and any given broad specialty is an eligible feeder specialty to multiple super specialties. So, a candidate who will be pursuing a broad specialty must be given the choice of multiple super specialty courses for which his/her broad specialty is a feeder category.
Arguing that the previous pattern didn't provide such flexibility, the NBE has submitted that due to this restrictive scheme of admissions, and the consequent rush for only certain sought after seats, a large number of seats get wasted on a yearly basis even though the number of candidates who appear in the exam is greater than the available seats.
Pointing out that many such prestigious DM, MCh, and DrNB super-specialty seats were lying vacant, the NBE further submitted that in NEET-SS 2020 examination, a total number of 483 DM & MCh seats could not be filled after all rounds of counseling and a total of 321 DrNB Superspecialty seats remained vacant even after the final Mop Up round of counseling and these seats got wasted in the last academic year.
"By the revised scheme it has been ensured that candidates are given the option of the full range of choices that are available as the eligible superspecialties in respect of the broad specialty that the candidate concerned has pursued for the past three years before taking his NEET-SS. It has also been ensured that the candidate is tested in the subject that he/she has studied and trained in and not in the super-specialty that he/she ultimately wants to pursue. In other words, the NEET-SS in the revised scheme seeks to assess the candidate's competence in his / her broad specialty and not in a super specialty that he/ she, as yet has no training whatsoever in," NBE stated in the affidavit.