The results for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2020 came out two days ago, and two students topped the exam. Soyeb Aftab, a candidate from Odisha scored a perfect 720 out of 720, as did Akanksha, who is from Uttar Pradesh. While both of them scored full marks, Soyeb was declared topper due to NEET’s tie-breaker policy where preference is given to the candidate who is older in age.
In the aftermath of this, several coaching institutes have taken out advertisements with Soyeb as the face of the ad, insinuating that he took coaching from their institute.
@ALLENkota #aakash institute both claiming the topper is thr student...हर साल यही होता है जो टॉप किया सब उसकी pic लगा कर अपना प्रचार करते हैं ।@EduMinOfIndia must take note— AKASH (@deshwaasii) October 16, 2020
and make it clear...#NEET2020result #NEET #shoaibaftab #SoyebAftab #allenkota #aakash @DrKumarVishwas pic.twitter.com/4kqZOSOrM1
But where did 18-year-old Soyeb really take coaching? In an interview to IANS, he said that he was studying at Allen Career Institute. He added that he put the time during the pandemic when he was confined to his home to study well. According to a few reports though, Soyeb was a classroom student of Allen but had also enrolled into a distance course, from Aakash and Sri Chaitanya institutes. But many others of course have claimed that he was their student without any apparent contribution.
Son to a businessman and a homemaker, Soyeb is the first in his family to pursue his dream career in medical sciences.
"I did my schooling till Class 10 in Rourkela. I had decided to become a doctor in Class9-10. So, I asked my father to facilitate my coaching in Kota and my parents supported me to take admission in Allen Career Institute in Kota," Soyeb said.
Heyy @Nike We were wondering should 'Soyeb Aftab' be getting a customized pair of shoes cause he "Just Did It".— ALLEN Career Institute (@ALLENkota) October 16, 2020
He achieved a perfect score of 720/720 and All India Rank- 1 in #NEET2020.@nikestore#SoyebAftab #AIR1 #NEET2020 #JustDoIt pic.twitter.com/vKPNRKV6WX
Proud Moment For Aakash! Aakashian Soyeb Aftab Secured AIR - 1 in NEET UG 2020 with Perfect Score of 720/720. Not pleased with your NEET UG 2020 score, enroll today for Aakash Repeater Course for NEET 2021 https://t.co/GXfwWmDEs1— Aakash Education (@AESL_Official) October 16, 2020
Moreover, this is not the first time that this happened. Back in 2017 too, newspapers had carried ads of coaching institutes where nine of the toppers of the AIIMS entrance featured in ads of two coaching institutes. Two of these toppers pursued classroom coaching at both institutes, according to the latter’s claims. Similar observations were made in context of the JEE Advanced exams results, where three coaching institutes advertised four of the top 20 toppers as their students.
Meanwhile, Soyeb told IANS that he was good in studies but not exceptionally good. "I used a smartphone normally as there was no study pressure. But I concentrated more on studies that helped me score big," Soyeb said as he advised aspiring candidates to use smartphones only to enhance their knowledge of their subjects.
Soyeb's mother moved from Odisha to Kota in Rajasthan to support his dream. The teen said that apart from coaching and school, he used to devote around 3 hours for self-study. During holidays, he devoted 13-14 hours at a stretch to studies.
The Odisha lad now aspires to get admission in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. "I want to take admission in AIIMS for research programmes. After MBBS, I want to do specialisation in cardiology," said Soyeb.
(with IANS inputs)