By Sharanya Munsi
Chennai: The Doctor’s Association for Social Equality on Tuesday protested protestedprotested against the implementation of National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) for both undergraduate and post-graduate medical education.
Students and doctors from several colleges in the city joined the s protest in front of the Chennai Collectorate on Rajaji Salai raising slogans asking the State not to surrender all its medical seats to central poll. Till now, States had to give up only 15 per cent of their seats to the all India quota while the remaining 85 per cent were under the State quote. For the year 2017, the Medical Council of India has proposed States give up 100% of their seats.
“Tamil Nadu has the highest number of medical colleges in India. The government has worked hard to build them. These colleges unlike other states like West Bengal and Bihar have good infrastructure so why should the State have to give up its seats to people outside the State?”asks Arvind Santosh, a final year student of Madras Medical College.
DASE General Secretary, Dr. G.R. Ravindranath, said “The Tamil Nadu State-controlled undergraduate, postgraduate and super speciality medical seats should be exempted from NEET. The Central government should take steps to get President’s Assent for the Acts that have been passed by Tamil Nadu Assembly to get exemption from NEET.”
The Central government under the National Medical Commission Bill has proposed a qualifying exam for MBBS graduates to be called the National Licentiate Examination (NLE). Graduates will have to clear this exam to receive their license to practice in medical colleges. The NLE will double as NEET for admission to post graduate courses also. The protestors demanded that government colleges to be exempted from NLE.
“If the qualifying exams are meant for quality control then why should students of government colleges appear for them? We already write exams for question papers set by the government. This exam should be only for private run colleges. We prepare for so many exams, it seems like we will keep writing exams our entire life,” says Niveda, a second year student of Kilpauk Medical College. She joined the protest at 4.30 PM with thirty others of her college after their classes got over.
A common concern raised by the protestors was the inability of students from rural or weak financial backgrounds to compete with students tutored in private coaching centers for undergraduate admissions. Currently, admissions to medical colleges in Tamil Nadu happen on the basis of plus two board results, allowing students from the State board level playing.
“They are bleeding us to give our seats to the Northern people. Tamil Nadu syllabus is different from NEET. Only wealthy people who can afford coaching centers get enough practice of that syllabus and get seats. How will people from the lower class get a seat? NEET will not give them equal opportunity to express themselves,” says Davida Chammal a final student of Madras Medical College from Erode district. Dravida explains that to get a medical seat in Chennai, a student has to score 197-200 out of 200. For seats in peripheral colleges, a score above 194 is enough.