The School Education department of government of Tamil Nadu conducts free coaching classes for students to face NEET exam every year.

Two months since TN schools reopened no news on NEET coaching yetImage for representation/PTI
news NEET Monday, July 22, 2019 - 15:40

It has been almost two months since Tamil Nadu schools reopened, but there has been no news on when the state-sponsored NEET coaching centres for MBBS aspirants will begin classes. This delay is despite reports that not one student who attended the state-sponsored NEET coaching centres secured an MBBS seat in 2019.

Speaking to TNM, a senior official at the School Education department of Tamil Nadu said that the reason for the delay is unknown. “I have trained my teachers well to handle NEET coaching and have arranged everything needed for the coaching to commence. I don’t know the reason for the delay in commencing the coaching classes for the students,” the official said.

In 2017, the government of Tamil Nadu had announced free coaching for class 12 students for NEET. The coaching is structured in such a manner that it doesn’t disturb the regular classes of the students, and hence is conducted only on weekends, public holidays and during school vacations. From the students who enrol for NEET coaching, a select number are chosen by the government for residential coaching as the date for NEET gets closer. These students are provided with a place to stay and food for around 35 days after their board exams are completed. “These are like crash courses for the students to face NEET, and will go on for around six hours a day for 30-35 days,” the official explained.

As reported in ToI, while private coaching institutes in Tamil Nadu provide coaching anywhere between 1,000 and 1,200 hours per student, the government-sponsored coaching runs for around 550 hours a year. This lesser time devoted to coaching is also being attributed as one of the reasons why students who were coached by the government centres fail to secure MBBS seats. Though private coaching centres started classes in April or May, there is still no word from the state to the thousands of students waiting for classes to begin.

Success rate is 0.01%

The initiative by the state government came after Anitha, a Dalit student from Ariyalur, killed herself for not being able to clear NEET despite having good marks in class 12 board exams. The suicide sparked outrage about the Tamil Nadu government’s inaction around the imposition of NEET and also pushed the government to do something to equip the students of Tamil Nadu to face a competitive exam that is primarily based on the NCERT-CBSE syllabus.

Though news reports stated that not one student among those who had undergone NEET coaching provided by the government of Tamil Nadu has managed to get an MBBS seat, School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan clarified on Monday that two students had secured MBBS seats. This is a success rate of 0.01%.

Government of Tamil Nadu provides free NEET coaching in tie up with Speed Medical Institute which arranges video lectures in one school in every administrative block in the state. In the run-up to NEET 2019, the regular coaching sessions were suspended in December 2018 due to unknown reasons. The classes were conducted on weekends and public holidays during the regular school session. This year, the classes have not yet started.

A galore of shortcomings

Ram Prakash, Founder of Tech for All, however said that besides hours of coaching, it is the standardisation of language that is to be focused on. “Time is surely a factor and will have direct impact on the results. The government coaching centres function with a lot of administrative issues. Even if teachers and students are in class on time, the materials don’t reach them, or mock test papers don’t reach them etc. These are all things that impede the progress,” he said.

He also pointed out that while NCERT books are available in most Indian languages, official translation of those books in Tamil is also something that is putting Tamil students out of the game. “As of now, we are teaching students with our own translated versions. But in the exams, students have a time disadvantage since NCERT would have used a different Tamil word to translate the same scientific term. The students would be left to answer the questions on guesswork. Hence it is imperative to standardise the technical terms in Tamil before we move further on this path,” he explained.

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