Three students commit suicide, here’s why NEET exams are so controversial
In what’s a heartbreaking incident, three female students committed suicide in Tamil Nadu for not being able to do pass the medical entrance NEET exams. The results were out on 5th June. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, formerly the All India Pre-Medical Test is an entrance examination in India for students who wish to study graduate and postgraduate medical courses and dental courses in government or private medical colleges and dental colleges in India.
An 18-year-old girl from the fishing community was found hanging in her house near Villupuram, not far from Chennai. M Monisha allegedly committed suicide after she could not crack the exam for the second time this year. “She could not succeed in her previous attempt last year and the girl this year has got a very low score in NEET,” a district police official told news agency PTI.
As per the same report, two girls from the towns of Tirupur and Pattukottai ended their lives following their failure in NEET Ritushree, the Tirupur student, was the daughter of labourers who worked in the garment industry. The student from Pattukottai has been identified as N Vaishiya.
Monisha, the teenager who committed suicide on Thursday, had completed her Class 12 from a reputed school in Erode district in Tamil Nadu. Belonging to the fishermen community, she studied hard for the exam for a year and was dejected due to her failure, the official said.
Suicides Every Year?
As per an NDTV report at least six students have committed suicide in Tamil Nadu over NEET in the last two years. Tamil Nadu had banned NEET for nine years. The back-to-back suicides of students have also prompted students organisations to call for protests across the state demanding that the AIADMK government seek exemption from the medical test.
The test was announced by the Government of India and was held for the first time on 5 May 2013 across India for students seeking admission for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate Medicine. In 2018, more than 13 lakh students have enrolled for NEET across India.
The NEET consists of one paper containing 180 objective-type questions (four options with single correct answer) from Physics, Chemistry and Biology (Botany & Zoology) to be answered on the specially designed machine-gradable sheet. NEET 2018 will be conducted in Hindi, English, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
Why is it controversial?
Those who argue for NEET say a single exam increases the standard of education since everyone has to pass a certain cut-off. It will also stop Illegal sale of seats in private medical colleges. But many say clubbing all medical entrances together is not okay and that the formal of the exam doesn’t do justice to applicants. In Tamil Nadu in particular politicians have argued stating that NEET would prevent the rural and poorer students from becoming doctors. From 2006 till 2016 year, admissions to medical courses across Tamil Nadu were held on the basis of Class 12 marks alone. In 2017 Anitha committed suicide, similar to one of the cases above. She was a bright student who had scored 1176 out of 1200 in her Class 12 exams. Had NEET not been there, she would have become a doctor. This led her suicide last year.
There is always another way
“My heart goes out to the little lives that were lost, because they thought they had lost at an examination – there is always another way. The duty of care of educators does not end at teaching a syllabus or curriculum. It is essential to guide students to safe decisions, and the poor young girls who committed suicide were let down by their state, that insists on a level of learning that leaves its students unprepared for the real world. If they want to maintain their state levels, they must provide for bridge courses to national and international competitions – the world will not wait for the state, the state must help their students meet the world. There are no excuses for young lives being cast at the altar of ego and politics via education, ” says educationist Meeta Sengupta.