Offer multiple attempts in medical entrance exam — National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) — just like in for the engineering entrance - JEE Main, ask Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO). The student body has written a letter to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank raising their concerns regarding the upcoming entrance tests.
“It is heartening to see that the National Testing Agency will be conducting the JEE for engineering institutions four times this year, giving each student multiple attempts to give their best possible performance, and also allowing for students impacted by health and other concerns to skip a test without having to drop a whole year. A similar decision must be taken for other “high-stakes” exams, including at least NEET and CLAT for medical and law colleges respectively," the SIO wrote in the letter.
“Many of these exams, like the IIT-JEE or NEET, have unfortunately become “high- stakes” events in students lives, with years of preparation and studying condensed into a few pressure-filled hours of examination. Due to these exams often being built up as “make or break” moments in the lives of students, they have become the cause of considerable anxiety and mental health issues, and deserve a fundamental rethink of our approach to higher education," read the letter.
As of now, NEET is scheduled to be held on August 1, however, the medical entrance exam is likely to be postponed as the NTA has not issued the application form yet. Usually, students get at least a 30-day window to fill exam form. This has led to a lot of confusion. Sources in the ministry of education claim that the medical entrance exam is expected to be postponed till September, however, no official statement regarding this has been released yet.
For JEE Main, two attempts have been held while the remaining two are postponed till further notice. Students demand that government should fix timetables for JEE, NEET, CUCET, and other entrance examinations and announce the exam dates “at the earliest".
Earlier, actor Suriya Sivakumar had asked the government to cancel NEET claiming that having a single centralized exam is not fair. “Such common exams can sabotage the future of our children,” the letter read. The debate around the exam has been there since inception as it replaces smaller entrance exams and is a single entity for admission to medical colleges across India as well as abroad.
The student body also wants that the number of examination centers to be increased “significantly" and tests to be held in multiple shifts. The organization is an official statement said that it believes that these measures will “reduce stress and anxiety among students while ensuring that they are able to take the exams without compromising their physical and mental health".
“In the middle of the debilitating Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of conducting examinations for various levels of students has acquired a level of urgency that must be dealt with as quickly as possible. In view of the seriousness of the situation, unprecedented measures must be considered to ensure that the important task of education and assessment can be carried out without posing a serious risk to the mental and physical well being of a whole generation of students in their formative years," said SIO National President Mohammad Salman Ahmad.
The organisation has proposed that a fixed timeframe of conducting all exams in the next 3-4 months should be notified. “It is high time for us to have a frank conversation on the kind of evaluation system we want for the education of our future generations. We request the Education Ministry to initiate a national dialogue on the issue of examinations with students, teachers, parents, policymakers, and all relevant stakeholders," wrote students demanding an open dialogue on the examination and assessment system of the country.
“The current crisis has once again highlighted how our entire educational system is dangerously dependent on high-stakes annual exams. Multiple studies have shown how such a system encourages rote learning and mastering the performance of examinations, rather than conceptual learning and substantial learning," said Salman Ahmad.