NEET SS 2021 to follow existing pattern after SC order
New Delhi: After being rapped up by the Supreme Court on the last-minute changes to the exam pattern of NEET SS 2021, the Central government has decided to introduce changes from next year.
Informing the apex court about the same, the counsel appearing for the Centre has confirmed that this year's NEET SS will be held as per the existing exam pattern. The modified pattern will be given effect only from the academic year 2022-2023.
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. 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 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-speciality while 40 per cent from feeder courses. However, as per the changed pattern, the entirety of the questions for the critical care super speciality would be drawn from general medicine.
Later, 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.
Thereafter, the NBE 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 sought permission from the top court to defer the examination by two months and hold the same on January 10-11, 2022.
During the previous hearing, the bench asked the Union Government and the National Board of Examinations to "put their house in order" by deciding to defer the implementation of the revisions next year. The bench remarked that the revised patterns give extra privilege to the students from the General Medicine category, putting students from other feeder categories at peril. The bench also wondered if the hurried changes have been brought to ensure that seats in private medical colleges for SS courses are not lying vacant.
"You announce the changes in August for the exam in November. And when the students come to the court, you change the exams to January. This does not augur well for the medical education in the country", Justice DY Chandrachud told the government.
Noting that as per the revised pattern, 100% questions for the super specialty entrance will come from the feeder category of general medicine and as per the pattern prevailing from 2018-2020, 60% of the questions were from the super specialty course which the student opted and 40% questions were from the feeder categories, the bench stated.
"For 12 super specialties, 100% questions are from general medicines. The entire examination is going to be only be on general medicine. The logic seems to be, general medicine is the largest pool, and tap them to fill the seats. That seems to be idea. And see the prejudice caused to the studies.Previously they got 40% questions from the feeder courses but now they would get 100% questions from General Medicine", Justice Chandrachud said.
The bench observed that they were getting the impression that this has been done only with the intention of ensuring the filling up of vacancies.
"Seats are vacant are never in government colleges. It's always in Private.We have a surmise, that the seats in govt colleges are not lying vacant. It is a reasonable surmise. It appears that the entire haste is for filling the vacant seats", Justice Chandrachud said.
"The interest of students is far higher than that of the institutions. Of course, private institutions have made investments. But we have to balance. Students are going to be the torchbearers of the future", the judge added.
Saying that the bench is getting the impression that medical education and medical regulation has become a business, Justice Chandrachud, as quoted by Livelaw said, "The impression we get is, the medical education has become a business, medical regulation has also become a business.That's the tragedy of medical education in this country".
"Earlier, a candidate who had studied anesthesia would also have got some questions from it. Now all questions are from general medicine. What this does is privileging students who have done general medicine at the cost of all other feeder specialties?", the judge asked.
"Our education system is so botched up. We do not have either a plan or vision. What is the great hurry in bringing into force the new pattern of examination? Heavens would not have fallen except for a few seats in private medical colleges going vacant. Why not postpone the new examination pattern to the next year to give sufficient time to the doctors aspiring to acquire a degree in super speciality enough time to prepare?"
"Students prepare for years, right from their postgraduation in medicine days to get admission into super speciality courses after doing their masters. We know the private sector has invested money in offering super speciality courses and their interest has to be factored in while doing the balancing act. However, the interest of students, who will be the torch bearers of advanced healthcare in India in future, can't be sidelined."
"You can't be causing prejudice to students. If there is a sense of obduracy (on the part of authorities in not reverting to the old pattern of examination), the arms of law are long enough to deal with the obduracy. We have given you time till Wednesday to reform. NMC and NBE are not doing any favour to the students. We are giving you an opportunity to correct yourself."
Now, after facing harsh criticism from the apex court, the Central Government has told the Court that the revised pattern will be implemented only from next year.
"In deference of your lordships observations & interest of students, the Centre has decided that the revised scheme will be implemented from 2022. The present exam will be held based on 2020 scheme", the ASG told the bench as the matter was called today morning, reports Livelaw
The bench disposed of the petitions challenging the changes made to NEET SS 2021 pattern, recording the submission made by the government counsel.
"The learned ASG Bhati for the Union of India submits that decision has been taken by the Union Govt in consultation with NBE,NMC that with regard interests of student who would've commenced preparation for NEET SS-2021 that the modified pattern shall be given effect from academic year 2022-2023... Since the grievances sought to be raised has been fulfilled, in circumstances, the petitions filed under Article 32 are disposed of. We Clarify since the Union of India has taken a decision to hold NEET- SS scheduled for November 2021 on the basis of erstwhile pattern which held the field, it is not necessary for court to decide to validity of pattern for 2022-23. That issue is kept open", the bench stated in the order.