Tamil Nadu saw a spurt in coaching centers to prepare for NEET, as any competitive exam would encourage the coaching culture and commercialization of professional ability. However, the high fee structure of these coaching centres benefits only the rich and urban aspirants, while 95% of the Tamil Nadu State Board of Secondary Education students cannot afford it.
The ‘Impact of NEET on Medical Admissions in Tamil Nadu’ report reveals that there are more than 400 active coaching centers in Tamil Nadu with the total business being approximately Rs 5,750 crore, exclusively incurred on NEET.
From the total number of applications during 2019-20, it is revealed that 1% of the students did not attend coaching while 99% attended the coaching classes. There were 88% allotted seats and 12% non-allotted in 2019-2020.
The report also observed the growing repeated NEET test-takers bagging most of the MBBS seats. This too is a great cause of concern for a country that is low on socio-economic parameters. The repeaters’ average admission rate was 8.12% in the pre-NEET, which after the NEET became 71.42% in 2020-21.
With the rise in the repeaters bagging admissions, it is a cause of concern, states the report. “If this trend is seen together with the other parameters, the most conducive conjoining parameters that facilitate the growth of repeaters include students’ urban locality, medium of instruction-English, parents’ high-level education, higher parental income, and private schooling,” said the report. This makes NEET “anti-social, anti-disadvantaged, and anti-education” and meant only for the affluent well-off families, it adds.
The coaching culture has also resulted in a large-scale establishment of coaching factories mushrooming in India and Tamil Nadu. According to the report, there is a retail coaching franchise, offering a variety of coaching services like 5-year packages, 2-year packages, 1-year packages, 3 months, and 2 months crash courses, with various slabs of fees. This makes the coaching market a multi-billion industry.
Talking about the economics of NEET coaching classes, the report said that the cost to a student in a popular center in Rajasthan amounts to at least Rs 5 lakh for higher secondary education and entrance coaching classes.
When NEET implementation became compulsory in Tamil Nadu, the state saw an increase of coaching institutes “operating under the legal shell of a school.” Further among the students who secured admission in the year 2019-20, 99% of students had received prior training before the NEET.
Access to these centers is based on socio-economic and urban-rural factors. The “Short Term and Long Term Fee Structure of Popular Coaching Firms” shows who benefits – the affluent.
The structure shows that the range of one month crash course fee is Rs 10,000 – 38,000, for one year (short term), it is Rs 30,000 – 1,50,000, and for four years (long term) it is Rs 2,50,000 – 4,50,000.
Based on this and the data of the repeaters, the average cost of coaching of a student arrived at Rs 95,033, thus the average annual income of a centre per year is 13,95,32,202.
The committee also added that the actual fee (excluding the capitation or illegal surcharges levied by the private colleges) paid by the medical students for their studies to the medical colleges, both government and private, “would be much less than the money spent on coaching,” said the report.
Learning has been concluded to be lost and test-taking training has been spotted as gaining focus, this, in turn, makes the doctors an “extended machine in the healthcare system,” which encourages repeaters taking exams.
NEET-induced coaching culture has been observed to impinge upon the ‘achieved ability’ during the schooling time, which is considered crucial for preparing good doctors during their studies. “This means the ability attained during schooling is a prerequisite for studying medicine, which has been absolutely scrapped by the growing coaching culture caused by the NEET,” said the report.
Besides, the report added that due to NEET implementation, more students opted to study in CBSE instead of TNBSE as most part of the syllabus of the medical entrance is based on the CBSE syllabus.