May 8th, 2017
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2017 for admission to medical schools across India was held on Sunday. A total of 11,38,890 students, including 1,522 NRIs and 613 foreigners registered for the examination which was conducted in 10 languages at 1,921 exam centers in 103 cities.
Conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), NEET was earlier conducted for only 15% of the all-India quota seats and the rest was conducted by states. Unlike last year, when the exam was held in two phases, the exam was conducted in one phase this year.
The CBSE had issued a strict list of dos and don’ts for barred items and dress code.
Those who did not adhere to the rules prescribes by the CBSE, faced a bizarre situation on Sunday.
In Chennai, shirts and kurtas of several boys and girls were cut using scissors, while others had to dump their shoes and borrow their parents’ slippers. Girls were asked to take off their hair pins, high-heeled shoes and jewellery.
A female candidate from Kerala was also told to change her pants to a lighter colour. “My mother and I had to walk for at least 2 km to find a shop, get a change of clothes and then return to the exam hall,” she said, as reported by The News Minute.
After changing her pants, she hoped to be allowed entry into the examination hall, but was stopped again for a reason more ridiculous than the first – she was asked to remove her bra because of the metal hook on it. As the officials refused to hear her pleas, the 18-year old was forced to remove her bra and hand it over to her mother.
Some students were also denied entry into the examination halls for being late by a few minutes.
Meanwhile, in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, 120 Telugu-medium students appearing for the exam at St Peter’s Central Public School said they were given the English and Hindi question papers. Despite complaints, exam coordinators refused to help them.
The Logical Indian Take
NEET has been mired with controversies of question paper leaks, corruption and cheating during the examination, thus it was essential that the CBSE took steps to curb this problem.
However, it is also important to understand the limits of the “checks”. Should the CBSE have cut the sleeves of both girls and boys, and forced them to change their pants?
The students who appeared for the examination were fresh out of school, sitting for a competitive examination for the first time in their lives. Such harassment not only undermines their confidence minutes before the examination but also affects their psychology.
It was appalling that the authorities took security measures to an unacceptable level. Steps should be taken to prevent cheating but not in a manner that humiliates students.