Relief: NMC removes Upper-age cap for NEET
New Delhi: Introducing a major change in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Undergraduate (NEET-UG) examination, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has decided to remove the upper age-bar for appearing in the entrance test. This decision has been taken in the 4th NMC meeting held on 21st Oct, 2021 and NMC, the apex medical regulator, recently informed this decision to...
New Delhi: Introducing a major change in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Undergraduate (NEET-UG) examination, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has decided to remove the upper age-bar for appearing in the entrance test.
This decision has been taken in the 4th NMC meeting held on 21st Oct, 2021 and NMC, the apex medical regulator, recently informed this decision to the National Testing Agency (NTA).
In a letter directed to the Senior Director of NTA, Dr. Devvrat, the secretary to NMC, Dr. Pulkesh Kumar referred to the NTA's email dated 3rd March, 2022 seeking comments on the Draft Information Bulletin of National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test for admission to Undergraduate Course (NEET (UG) - 2022).
Communicating the decision regarding the upper-age bar in NEET, the letter further mentioned, "I would like to inform that it has been decided in the 4th NMC meeting held on 21st Oct, 2021 that there should not be any fixed upper age limit for appearing in the NEET-UG examination. Therefore, the information bulletin may be modified accordingly. Further, the process for official notification to suitably amend the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997 to this effect has been initiated."
"Thus is issued with the approval of the Chairperson, NMC," further read the letter.
The debate concerning the upper age limit for the MBBS entrance examination had been in place since CBSE had implemented it back in 2017. Issuing a notification in this regard, CBSE had mentioned, "The upper age limit for NEET-UG is 25 years as on the date of examination with relaxation of 5 years for the candidates belonging to SC/ST/OBC category."
At that time, CBSE had also limited the number of attempts for appearing in the examination to three for all the candidates.
However, the age limit had been questioned several times before the High Courts and the Supreme Court. When the matter was being considered by the Apex Court, the Medical Council of India (MCI), which has now been replaced by NMC, had justified its decision of capping of upper age limit for NEET- at 25 years by pointing out that 'sharp young minds' are required to study medicine.
However, in an interim order, all the candidates had been made eligible for NEET without any age bar for appearing in the examinations.
Last year, the UG Medical Education Board of NMC was considering the possibility of remiving the upper age cap in NEET entrance. Such considerations had been made while keeping in mind the problems of the students belonging to the lower-income families, and the exodus of MBBS aspirants to foreign countries.
In the paper titled "Seeking graduation in medical colleges outside India: Is it a 'win-win situation' or 'lose-lose situation' for the stakeholders and the nation?" the UGMEB officials had hinted at the possibility of removing the upper age bar for MBBS admission.
UGMEB had opined that with the age bar gone, students keen on pursuing medical graduation can continue appearing on NEET for as many attempts as they wish, even after they get admitted to other courses.
Recently, the crisis in Ukraine has reflected upon the situation of medical education in India. Due to the high expenses of pursuing MBBS in the management quota seats, the students flee to foreign countries for cheaper cost of medical education.
In such a context, the removal of upper-age bar in NEET entrance is going to provide relief to several candidates as they would now be able to enroll themselves for the MBBS course even later in life.
Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.