Andhra Pradesh went ahead and conducted its EAMCET-2016 (Engineering, Agriculture and Medical Common Entrance Test) on Friday, 29 April and Telangana is bent on holding its EAMCET before 20 May, in spite of a Supreme Court order on Thursday, 28 April that there will be only one medial entrance test, NEET, for the entire country from the academic year of 2016-17.
A day after the SC verdict on NEET and after the same court rejecting a plea by the Attorney General of India to allow the states to go ahead with their own medical entrance tests, an informal agreement emerged among the five southern states, AP, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala and union territory Puducherry, that they should petition the Supreme Court next month seeking to retain their own tests. These states are also in touch with Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra in moving a review petition before the Apex Court on its NEET judgement. The states are making a concerted move to seek exemption from NEET after they got some hope from the SC that it would take up the objections of the states if they came up with separate petitions from them.
Meanwhile, these states have decided to go ahead with their plans to conduct their own entrance tests for which preparations are almost over. The tests are scheduled to be conducted by the end of May. AP and Telangana governments have issued statements urging students that they need not worry about the SC ruling on NEET and that their EAMCETs will hold good.
Besides AP and Telangana, Karnataka, which holds its popular KCET-16 (Karnataka Common Entrance Test) for all professional courses including medical colleges, is firm on sticking to its schedule and conducting the test on 4 and 5 May. Similarly, Tamil Nadu is resolved to conduct the next academic year’s medical admissions based on students’ marks in the Intermediate (Plus 2) examinations.
Kerala’s KEAM (Kerala Engineering, Agriculture and Medicine Entrance Examination) was held on 22 and 23 April, the results for which are expected to be released by the second week of May. In Kerala and Puducherry, some private medical colleges hold separate tests, for which the last date for the submission of application forms was over.
As per the Supreme Court order delivered by a Constitutional bench, only NEET (National Eligibility Entrance Test) can replace all other entrance tests, close to 75, in different states by different agencies so as to bring transparency and ease the burden on close to 15 lakh students who compete for the 52,000 medical seats from around 415 colleges.
The SC verdict on NEET should have been a big relief to lakhs of students who slog for months to appear for different entrance examinations in different centres spread across the country. However, the refusal of the states to agree to a single national level medical entrance test is coming in the way of simplifying the admission procedure.
Sources in AP and Telangana higher education councils (State Council for Higher Education) told The Sunday Guardian on Friday that efforts were underway to file a petition before the Supreme Court soon, seeking at least two years’ exemption from NEET, as else the new system would lead to inequality among students who follow the CBSE syllabus and those who follow state (Intermediate) syllabuses.
Telangana Higher Education Council chairman, Prof T. Papi Reddy told this newspaper, “As of now, NEET is advantageous to the students who studied the CBSE syllabus and the examination would be in English and Hindi. But students who followed state syllabuses are tuned to the regional medium, Telugu and they will fare badly in NEET. Unless we address this anomaly, we cannot switch over to a national level NEET.”
Telangana was supposed to hold its EAMCET on 2 May, but the test got postponed because of a strike declared by private educational institutions in protest against police raiding their premises. Prof Papi Reddy made it clear that the students of Telangana need not worry about NEET and that medical admissions in the state would be held as per its EAMCET.
The issue of NEET has assumed political proportions in election-bound Tamil Nadu. The opposition DMK and BJP have voiced concern over the adverse fallout of NEET on Tamil medium students. The ruling AIADMK leaders have been assuring people that Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa would ensure that the coming year’s medical admissions would be held as per the existing method, based on Intermediate marks.