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The exam confusion

Students, parents and tuition centres are worried as the CET or NEET question remains unanswered
Well into the first week of January, the confusion surrounding medical admissions this year persists. While private colleges have issued the formal schedule for the entrance test conducted by the COMED-K (Consortium of Medical, Engineering and Dental colleges of Karnataka), the State Government is yet to notify its schedule. However, news reports have been repeatedly pointing to the possibility of a common centralised entrance this year.

Despite the State Government's assurances that the new proposal will be shelved, in December, when the Union Government appealed to the Supreme Court seeking an extra year to implement the court order to conduct a centralised entrance for medical exams (termed the National Eligibility Entrance Test in the Medical Council of India notification), the apex court expressed its displeasure.

The Court, in effect, has refused to pass an order extending the time for conducting the exam. While it has not been made clear by the Central Government what course it will pursue following the Court order, in its plea it had attributed the inability to conduct the common exam to the reluctance of State Governments. Karnataka and other States have sought more time to shift from a State entrance to a centralised one.

While some have done so on grounds of disparity in syllabus, others have vaguely proposed that it puts students at a disadvantage. Of course, the MCI has repeatedly pointed out that if colleges implement the NCERT syllabus, it should not be a problem as every State will have individual State lists. However, in Karnataka, the Pre-University college syllabus does not follow the NCERT syllabus, and academics claim that the disparity between the recommended syllabus and the one colleges follow is as high as 40 per cent. The State has asked for a year's time to “upgrade” its syllabus.

However, all this dilly-dallying over the examination has caused much confusion and anxiety among students and parents. As Chaitra Hudligi, a II PUC student from Bangalore, points out, the medical admission process is a “highly competitive and stressful” affair. “Right from the beginning of the year they told us that there is going to be a central exam. At my coaching centre, they first taught us the CBSE syllabus so that we can write the central exam. Mid-way they said that the CET may be there after all,” she explains. She points out that while the subjects are the same, the treatment of questions (particularly in Physics and Chemistry) is different. Another student, Vijeesh Kumar, who will take the exam for the second time this year, explains that last year his preparation for the AIPMT (All India Pre-Medical Test) was indeed different from the format of the CET. “One cannot say that the CET is very simple. But the style of questioning is certainly different.”

Coaching centres too have been finding the uncertainty difficult. They stand to lose if one exam replaces the plethora of medical entrances that students study for. And the uncertainty over the 2012 exam too is affecting them.

Last option
A lecturer at a Bangalore coaching centre, K. Prasad, says that students are “worried” and “frustrated” over the lack of certainty. “Basically it is the State syllabus students who need special coaching to gear up for a centralised examination. Some coaching centres are also thinking of providing crash courses or refresher courses in case the NEET is held this year. But all this should have been sorted out well in advance,” a coaching centre representative said on condition of anonymity. She added that the government too woke up too late to this problem. “The MCI notification was issued in February. What were State Governments waiting for till November,” she asked.

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