Ankit Sharma Sharma
Green tea Addict | A Tree Hugger | Born for Change
The NEET disaster
Medical aspirants in Tamil Nadu who will appear for NEET exam conducted by the CBSE board are in a rude shock this year as their exam centres are allotted thousands of miles away from Tamil Nadu in states like Rajasthan.
Speaking to The New Minute, Sanyam Bharadwaj, NEET Director (New Delhi) said, “Last year 82,000 candidates appeared for NEET from Tamil Nadu itself. We were able to accommodate all of them within the state. However, this year the number of candidates has risen by 31 percent. We increased the number of centres in Tamil Nadu by 25 percent and have even asked centres to accommodate students to its full capacity. A total of 1,07,480 students have registered from Tamil Nadu alone. Out of this, maybe about 1000 or 1500, were given the nearest available centres in neighbouring cities.”
The Madras High Court’s order on April 27 had directed the CBSE administration to create additional centres to accommodate the students from TN who were allocated centres in Kerala, Karnataka and Rajasthan. The CBSE board however challenged this decision in the Supreme Court citing that NEET centres require a certain level of infrastructure which would be impossible to build at such short notice. In response, Supreme Court ordered a stay on the Madras High Court’s directive to CBSE to arrange additional centres. This decision has led to massive outrage in Tamil Nadu as students are not prepared to face the inconvenience caused by the CBSE board’s proposal.
Sanyam responded to this outrage by saying, “the board has taken care to allocate centres in the nearest city to every candidate who has been allowed out-station centres, considering their choices. Those who are appearing in Delhi or far away cities to write the exam have only been allotted these centres out of their choice.” He also clarified that students would receive question papers in the language of their choice regardless of the exam centre they are allocated. The regional CBSE office in Chennai said that 5,371 students from the state would have to write the examination from centres in Ernakulam which was their second or third choice.
As reported by Times Of India Subhash Gopinath, a student of Hilton School in Tenkasi Municipality in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, travelled a distance of 3100 km with his father and a friend, from his hometown to reach the examination centre. He was allotted a centre in Udaipur, Rajasthan 2311 km from Chennai despite selecting Tirunelveli, Madurai and Tiruchirappalli as his choice of centres. “I’ve been travelling since the morning of May 3. It took 15 hours to reach Chennai from my hometown. I am not in a position to say anything and I want to focus on my revision”, Gopinath told the Times of India
15 other students from his home district have also been allotted centres in Rajasthan which shows that there is some discrepancy to the statement made by the CBSE board director. More than the inconvenience of travelling long distance it is burning a deep hole in the pocket of families who have wards appearing for the NEET as they are paying for last minute flight and train tickets to far off destinations. The language barrier is another issue as Hindi is not prominent in the South Indian states as a language of communication whereas you cannot escape it in North India.
In response to the public outrage, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s office has recently announced a toll-free helpline — 14417 — to assist students affected by this problem. The government has also announced an allowance of Rs 1000 to the affected students and 2nd class railway tickets. Many public figures have come out on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to show their support.
Actor turned politician Kamal Hassan tweeted, “In this digital age, it is an injustice to make Tamil students run to Kerala, Rajasthan for writing NEET. They can write from here, right? The government and administration should make arrangements for this.”
இந்த டிஜிட்டல் இணையதள யுகத்தில் ஏழைத் தமிழ் மாணவர்களை கேரளத்திற்கும், ராஜஸ்தானுக்கும் நீட் எழுத அலைக்கழிப்பது அநீதி. இங்கிருந்தே எழுதலாமே? அதற்கு ஆவன செய்யட்டும் அரசும் ஆணையும்.
— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) May 3, 2018
As a kind gesture, some are even offering accommodation to underprivileged students who are forced to travel to different states.
Actor Prasanna’s tweet to sponsor students taking the NEET exam has led to a chain reaction. Many people are coming forward with offer their help.
Wud love to sponsor travel expenses for atleast 2 underprevilleged students or Govt school students appearing for #NEET this year. Inbox me the details like hall ticket, place where ur exam hall assigned will book the tickets for u.
— Prasanna (@Prasanna_actor) May 4, 2018
Even though it is heartening to see people come together to support the NEET candidates it is imperative for the State Government to take steps to prevent this from happening again. Concerned authorities should look into this matter.
Also published on Medium.
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