Data submitted by the Tamil Nadu government to the Madras High Court on Monday, shows that only 2.1% of the students admitted into government and self-financing medical colleges in 2019, passed the NEET exam without enrolling in private coaching centres. A Bench of High Court Justices N Kirubakaran and P Velmurugan who studied the numbers observed that NEET had disadvantaged poor students and treated 'unequals as equals'.
According to data submitted in court, in government colleges, 3033 students secured MBBS seats by enrolling in private coaching while only 48 students secured seats despite no private coaching. So, only 1.55% of the students in government medical colleges, cleared the exams without coaching in private centres. Meanwhile 1040 of these students cleared NEET in their first attempt while 2042 took two or more attempts.
In self-financing colleges meanwhile, the percentage of students who got medical seats without coaching is an abysmal 3.15%. While 1598 students had received private coaching, only 52 received admission without the same. Number of students who cleared the exam at their first attempt stands at 588, while 1062 students attempted NEET twice or more.
'Doors closed for poor'
Appalled by the figures, the Court asked why the present central government, which rolled back the programs of the previous government did not scrap NEET. On learning that private coaching institutes charged anywhere between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for coaching, the judges observed that the doors of medical colleges were closed to poor students.
"It is shocking to note that only negligible candidates have got admission without undergoing coaching. That means medical education is not available to the poor people and it is available only to those who underwent coaching classes by spending lakhs and lakhs of rupees," said the court. "Moreover, this will also put the rural students in a disadvantageous position, as they lack facilities of undergoing coaching. It should also be taken note of by the Central Government, which brought the Rules and Regulations or amendment for conducting NEET Examination," it directed.
'Unequals treated equally'
While making observations on the number of attempts it took students to crack the exams, the judges pointed out that school students were burdened by board exams in addition to NEET.
"The first timers has to prepare for the +2 examination as well as for the NEET examination simultaneously, whereas the students who had already completed their +2 examination could fairly devote their time for preparing exclusively for the NEET examination. The unequals have been treated equally in the NEET examination and the results would speak for themselves. This fact should also be taken note of by the Central Government," said the court.
The court was hearing a petition filed by S Dheeran of Coimbatore who had demanded proper counselling procedure for management quota seats. The government was impleaded into the petition later.