Months after judicial committee recommendations, Centre yet to adopt medical exam reforms
For a while now, the Centre has been sitting on the recommendation of a judicial committee – formed on the order of the Supreme Court – asking the Centre to change the pattern of national level medical entrance examinations, in order to stop corruption in the admission process of candidates.
This shows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for turning India into a corruption free country exists only as rhetoric.
Many candidates throughout the years have secured admission not by virtue of their merit, but through hefty payments made by their guardians.
Corrupt practices reached its peak after 2009, when question papers for admission to undergraduate medical courses underwent a substantial change.
Till 2009, the students had to appear in two sets of examinations – one Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) type or preliminary, and the other written examination or final. In the written exam, there was hardly any chance of cheating.
From 2010-2012, exams were conducted in two phases, but both in the form MCQ.
Since 2013, a single MCQ exam was introduced, compromising the integrity of the admission process.
The Supreme Court had observed that there were irregularities in the admission of medical candidates in the country in 2014 and 2015.
A committee, headed by Justice (Retired) MSA Siddiqui was formed in 2015, following the order of the Apex Court.
The Supreme Court had also scrapped the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) conducted in 2015, as the answer key had been leaked to several students and a re-test was later held. Various cases were filed in different courts.
In 2016, the Uttarakhand High Court had sought a reply from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in this regard and asked the Nainital police for a status report about the leakage of answer key.
Based on its observations, the Sidiqqui committee had filed and submitted a
report to the Human Resource Development Ministry, suggesting that a national-level entrance examination in two parts – one in MCQ form and the other of
descriptive type – be conducted to check irregularities, including leakage of question papers.
It also suggested various other measures to streamline the nationwide test for admission to various medical colleges.
However, the Centre is yet to implement these recommendations.It remains to be seen if
the Centre implements the recommendation during the admission of the candidates in the next year by introducing the national-level National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), the notification of which will likely to be published in the next month.
It may be mentioned that important entrance examinations like IIT, lAS, IPS, AFMC Pune, CMC Vellore are conducted in two phases.
Dr AK Maity, a city-based doctor and expert in medical education had written to the Prime Minister, Union Health Minister, Union HRD Minister and Chairman of the CBSE, urging them to implement the old pattern of the examinations to check the irregularities. The CBSE is responsible for conducting the NEET.