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Medical retest after language goof-up

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will conduct a retest of the all-India medical entrance exam on May 26 for about 100 candidates of a centre in Calcutta who were furnished question papers in English despite opting for Bengali.

The affected candidates were informed about the retest through an SMS alert on Thursday. “Some students in Calcutta, who had applied to write in Bengali but could not, will be allowed to take the test afresh,” CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi said.

The students could not write the test in Bengali because of shortage of question papers. “It happened at one centre and the students could not take the test (in Bengali) as question papers were not available,” Joshi added.

The test on May 5 was conducted smoothly at all the other centres in Bengal, he said.

“Please check your email for letter regarding retest in NEET-UG 2-13… Will be held on 26.5.2013 in Kolkata,” the SMS says. The students, however, were yet to receive the CBSE email till evening.

The CBSE helpline (01122041807) said students would be able to check the details about the retest on the board’s website.

Many candidates were unhappy with the date set by the CBSE because it coincides with the Aligarh Muslim University medical entrance test.

“Several of us will be writing the Aligarh Muslim University test. The CBSE should have considered this,” one of them said.

The Mamata Banerjee government abolished the state-conducted test and went ahead with the all-India examination for admission to MBBS courses following the Centre’s assurance that candidates would be allowed to write in regional languages of their choice.

Chaos reigned at exam centres during the May 5 test as candidates opting for Bengali were given papers set in English. The affected examinees wrote to the CBSE about the goof-up and demanded a retest, which the board accepted.

The candidates complained that they had to submit blank answer sheets because they could not follow the questions in English. Some of them said they could have done better had they not been forced to write in English.

“I lost hope when I was given the question paper in English. I had no option but to write the paper in English,” said Moumita Mondal. She took the test on May 5 at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Ordnance Factory, Dum Dum.

The CBSE helpline told Metro that these candidates could take the test again in their chosen language but the exam they wrote on May 5 would stand cancelled. Those who choose to opt out of the retest would be assessed on the basis of the previous exam.