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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Students hail SC move to review judgment on NEET-TOI REPORT

Students hail SC move to review judgment on NEET

Medical aspirants are elated at the Supreme Court's decision to review its July order to strike down the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET). Most believe that a single-window entrance test is an ideal way to preclude private medical colleges in Maharashtra from charging extortive capitation fees. 

Yoshita Sharma (29) is yet to get the discipline of her choice despite cracking the state-conducted postgraduate medical entrance exam twice. On both occasions, she did not figure among the top 100. And it is usually the toppers who walk away with popular specialisations, such as radiology, orthopaedics and medicine. The rest have to settle for other disciplines or look to private medical colleges. 

But for those without deep pockets, the 200 PG seats in private-run medical colleges are out of the question. "It is an open secret that the most sought-after disciplines in private colleges are sold for Rs 1.5-3 crore. The rates have increased over the years and nothing has deterred private colleges so far," the Kalina resident added. The amount is usually charged under the garb of management quota and capitation fees, which are above the tuition fee that runs into lakhs. 

As a consequence of the malpractice, 50,000-70,000 students compete for the 1,100 PG seats offered in government colleges. 

Another postgraduate aspirant said the state's medical education system is akin to the real estate market. "In most private colleges, booking for seats starts a year in advance so that payments can be made in easy instalments. The principle is similar to what clients follow in under-construction building projects," an aspirant from Chandivli said. He recounted how a friend who had got into a similar arrangement with a private college sold off his "seat booking" to another friend after he bagged a seat in a government college. 

"Bringing private colleges under the ambit of NEET is a practical way of tackling the unbridled commercialisation of private colleges. Even if students clear private colleges' entrance exams, they are seldom called for counselling once the management finds their financial strength to be poor," said Dr Santosh Wakchaure, president of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors. 


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