Stopping short of social justice – Regarding NEET

Synopsis:  The Justice AK Rajan Committee report does not provide answers to the crucial questions it engages with.


Justice AK Rajan Committee report states that the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) has adversely impacted the chances of less privileged students in gaining admission to government medical colleges in Tamil Nadu.

The committee has used various parameters in making its reports like family income, access to privileges, whether a student going to a government school or a private one etc.

Read more: National Entrance cum Eligibility Test(NEET) – Issues and Significance- Explained, pointwise
What are the issues with the report?

NEET and Coaching: The committee repeatedly asserts that NEET coaching skews the results of the medical exam. The report says that numerous disadvantages like geographical, linguistic etc. do not favour a common entrance exam. But, the committee failed to understand that the same can also be applied to common 10th and 12th standard exams.

As the marginalised and rural students do not have similar tuition and other coaching facilities available for urban students. For instance, prior to NEET, students from coaching schools in Rasipuram, Tamil Nadu occupy the majority of medical college seats of the state.

Higher Secondary school (HSc): This creates confusion as to who will be considered more meritorious – those who secured 98. 16 % (HSc) or those who secured ‘89.05% (HSc)’ and simultaneously 49.65% (NEET)? Committee says that such a comparison is difficult – like comparing apples to oranges.

But according to experts, NEET is the best assessor of students’ standards and abilities, because of its assessment and syllabus superiority.

Financial commitment: The driving factor behind the NEET was the high capitation and other fees of the medical colleges. So creating NEET alone without addressing the high fee would defeat the very objective of creating the NEET. The committee failed to observe this.

Read more: Inequity and injustice writ large – Regarding NEET 
What should be the way forward?

In conclusion, the truth is that school education in India, including in Tamil Nadu, is grossly inequitable. There is a range of inequity in education, with the government schools catering to the most underprivileged and private schools catering to the privileged.

Unless this inequity is addressed, nothing is going to change either with NEET or with the state’s board exams. So instead of complaining about NEET, the government should focus on improving the quality of government school education.

Source: This post is based on the following articles “Stopping short of social justice published in The Hindu on 27th September 2021.

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