Is NEET so NEAT ?

The article here is the author's unique take on the NEET exam and the hilarious yet paradoxical nature of such competitive exams.

File Image : Wikimedia Commons

NEET results have been announced quite late. Delays breed corruption, Nehru was fond of saying in the pre-digital era. Nehru was wrong. Delay means that the manager is doing things with artisan-like perfection, slowly and steadily. Anyway, to prove Nehru wrong we first delayed the call to fill in the forms for NEET.

Then, the NEET exam got delayed until 12th September. Old timers tell me that in their day, September was when ‘Sissy freshers’ were inducted into college life by ‘Veteran seniors’. The moral brigade disdainfully calls it “ragging”. Anyway, now imagine when will this important, inspirational phase in the life of the freshers start?

Then, we delayed the result of NEET until 1st November, 2021. Machines using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) had to read 16 lakh mark-sheets. Our experience of Digital India has been fairly botched. Only 32% students took online classes during the pandemic, ASER reports. And 79% parents thought online teaching was unsatisfactory.

We are late but it’s okay. Whoever expects punctuality in the ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ times? The Hindutva project itself is both delayed and in disarray. The Great Leader doesn’t put a tilak on foreign dignitaries. Instead, he goes around hugging the skullcap wearing Pope and Kaffiyeh wearing Arabs? Chi, chi…

Er… Sorry 

So, what’s NEET? It’s the acronym for National Eligibility and Entrance Test. Before 2013, the same exam used to be known as All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT). Then, the ‘re-naming the old’ bug bit the government of the day. So, AIPMT became NEET much before the rulers of India renamed Gurgaon as Gurugram and Allahabad as Prayagraj.

Now, let me explain the title ‘NEET is so neat’. I have heard wise scholars say that politics changes every few months, society in two hundred years, and ecology over a thousand years. To hell with ecology, as the climate change debate shows. Let me just concentrate on society and politics.

Politics in our country hasn’t changed in a while. It is unlikely to change any time soon. So, take it easy and be happy with what you’ve got.

Society is racing ahead at break-neck speed. Globalisation has given the elite of every society a place in the sun. They can avail education of an international standard if they can show the money. The rest of us don’t matter to the system of education with a Global edge.

Money makes the mare go

In my circle of acquaintances and relatives aspiring for the medical degree MBBS, here’s the story of two. It just proves right that old maxim ‘money makes the mare go’.

Both aspirants are from the unreserved category (UR). The one with 534 marks is disappointed and will be doing a Nursing Course. The one with 400+ marks is going for an MBBS to an off-shore campus of a private Indian University.

Unfair? Cheating? No, just money power and timely decision-making.

The one who has less marks was born to richer parents eighteen years ago. She lives in a metropolis and went to the best private schools there. Her parents sent her for coaching to a premium, high-fee charging Institute. She worked hard but messed up her chemistry paper and landed up in an unsafe zone.

Meanwhile, the Indian private University was soliciting customers for its off-shore Medical College. This young lady’s parents showed them the money and they sent an offer letter, even before the NEET results were out. The only academic requirement for admission being that the candidate must pass the eligibility test of NEET. A hard-working child, she did that quite easily. Even for the UR category, the eligibility criterion is 50th percentile.

The one with more marks is from a poorer family and lives in a small town. She went to the better government-run schools. She took a year off to prepare for NEET and could only afford online coaching. Her choices were further limited by the fact that her parents can’t afford paid seats in government medical colleges, leave alone fly her to a private college outside India.

The one with more marks is my neighbour. Ever since the declaration of NEET results, I overhear the conversation taking two paths at her place. First they wish the girl had scored a hundred more marks. Second, they wish that if the Dalits themselves cannot disappear, at least their reservations must end immediately.

P.S. By the way, it’s not as if failures among Dalits will get a MBBS seat. Their eligibility criteria in 2021 was 40th percentile.

Ravi Rao has been deeply interested in higher education and the universities ecosystem as a domain of research.

 

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