How can the government pass this exam? These changes are needed after the NEET scam

Ananya Shroff
10 Min Read
How can the government pass this exam? These changes are needed after the NEET scam

Author: Kiran Karnik

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Recent events have brought the National Testing Agency (NTA) under scrutiny. At first, the news of NEET UG paper leak was completely denied. But eventually it was proved to be true. NEET is conducted for admission in medical colleges across the country. There are about one lakh seats in these colleges, while more than 20 lakh students appear for the entrance exam every year.

Fewer seats
Here are some obvious points that must be noted. The demand for medical education is very high, while the number of seats for admission is very low. This is despite the fact that the number of seats has increased exponentially in the last few years.
Why so much attraction? What attracts so many people? Is it the hope of getting a government job? Or is it the lack of other employment opportunities? Leaked papers are bought for lakhs of rupees. Is such a high price a symbol of the importance given to government jobs or is it a dream of private practice, which can earn huge profits?

greed for fees
Admission is given in government colleges on getting good marks in NEET. The fees of government colleges are much less than private colleges. Although the number of seats in both government and private colleges is almost equal, there is a difference of 10 to 20 times in the fees.

Opportunities abroad
Every year 20 to 25 thousand Indians go to countries like China, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Russia and Philippines to study medicine. Unlike Western countries or Australia, students do not go to these countries with the intention of settling down. These students go because either they did not get admission through NEET or medical studies abroad are cheaper than any private college in India.

Error in .NET
Soon after the NEET-UG controversy, the government also postponed NET. This exam is for jobs in universities and research fellowships. In the NET case, the government cyber agency had reported irregularities. Another exam CSIR-UGC NET has also been postponed.
Problem in the system | These glitches point to serious flaws in the system. Centralised exams for admissions and jobs add to the problems. However, there are exams like JEE and CAT, which have been conducted for decades without any problems.

American Example
Other countries also have independent bodies like NTA that take full responsibility for the exams. For example, in the US, SAT and GRE are conducted by the Educational Testing Service.

some suggestions
An investigation has been initiated into the irregularities in the exam. It is expected that action will be taken against those responsible. Here are some suggestions to prevent paper leaks in future:

➤ NTA's systems and processes should be professionally audited. It should be restructured to make it completely transparent and transparent. There should be a system that can detect irregularities and identify those responsible.

Technologies like AI, blockchain and encryption should be fully used to keep the test papers secure and prevent leaks. Test papers should not be printed in one place.

➤There should be strict monitoring during the exam. There should be a third party audit. AI as well as CCTV cameras should be used to detect suspicious things. It is mandatory to have at least two cameras at every center in NEET UG, but the audit revealed that this arrangement was not there at 46% of the centers.

The weakest link in the system is man. In such a situation, selection of key employees, their training and monitoring becomes very important. For this, negligence and corruption will have to be eradicated from the root. This task is difficult, but not impossible. In such a situation, the strength of the organization becomes decisive.

The bigger issue is ideological
Entrance exams focus on rejection rather than selection. Most exams only test memory. Aptitude and attitude are very important for a doctor, but these do not find a place in the exam. IIM has suggested a solution, a single exam without any common ranking. Also, decentralise the selection process. Why can't this be adopted?

(The author is Chairman, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi)

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