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Neet 2024: The education system of the country has failed us, say students awaiting admissions

Despite the Centre’s attempts to redress the grievances of the students against the malpractices surrounding NEET 2024, students continue to face uncertainty

Our Web Desk Published 17.06.24, 01:20 PM

The NEET-UG examination 2024, conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country, has been mired in controversy from the start. Amid widespread allegations of paper leaks and other irregularities, matters reached a head when it was revealed that over 1,500 students were awarded grace marks. That decision has since been reversed, but the admissions process has been one long nightmare for aspirants. Now, the Supreme Court is in the midst of considering a plea for a CBI probe. 

The TelegraphOnline reached out to a number of students from across the country to find out how they were coping.   

Students stage a protest demanding re-examination of NEET-UG 2024 results outside the Kashi Hindu University, in Varanasi, Saturday, June 8, 2024
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Students stage a protest demanding re-examination of NEET-UG 2024 results outside the Kashi Hindu University, in Varanasi, Saturday, June 8, 2024

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Arushi Mishra, Maharashtra 

“Withdrawing the grace marks is absolutely not a solution to all the paper leaks and multiple other issues that took place. Allowing them to re-take the exam is a shoddy attempt to appease the people,” Arushi said. She  took a gap year after graduating from school to prepare for the exam. “I feel like I’ve wasted a year”, she said. She feels that the NTA has released marks unfairly and that students who cheated must be investigated and penalised in accordance with the law, and should be barred from taking any medical exam. She believes that only students who have benefitted from the situation would be in support of the counselling process continuing, and has signed petitions against it. 

Police use water cannons to disperse Youth Congress activists during a demonstration against alleged irregularities in the NEET entrance exam, in Bhopal, Sunday, June 9, 2024.
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Police use water cannons to disperse Youth Congress activists during a demonstration against alleged irregularities in the NEET entrance exam, in Bhopal, Sunday, June 9, 2024.

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Farid Jamadar, Maharashtra 

This student from Pune believes that the grace marks had been awarded unfairly and more information should be published before any decision is taken. “This is not fair because they have not published important data regarding how much time was lost at which centre for those who were awarded grace marks. Even if grace marks are awarded, they should be done in a standardized way, meeting certain criteria. Marks should not be awarded arbitrarily, without transparency,” he said. He believes a CBI investigation should occur on the NTA and all data should be published publicly. He plans to get ready for his MBBS course to start soon. “Or I will have to take a drop year to make my MBBS dreams come true”, he said. 

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Manav Harris, Tamil Nadu

Manav supports the Centre’s decision to conduct a retest for the 1,563 students who were awarded grace marks. He believes this time the exams would be conducted under strict supervision, and paper leaks and other malpractices would be avoided. “We will get to know if those students are really deserving of the grace marks or if any other mishap occurred which led to the concept of grace marks being used as a cover-up,” he said. He believes the CBI should investigate the incidents of the papers being leaked. 

NEET aspirants take part in a protest rally against the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG 2024 entrance exam results, in Calcutta, Monday, June 10, 2024
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NEET aspirants take part in a protest rally against the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG 2024 entrance exam results, in Calcutta, Monday, June 10, 2024

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Sohini Chatterjee, West Bengal

Sohini believes that the malpractices that occurred throughout the exams will have further consequences, impacting the field of medicine itself. “People will now be scared to take up medicine as a career, because the system itself is fraudulent,” she said. She does not want to risk taking another drop year to appear for the exam again. “The education system of our country failed us. Henceforth, I will not advise any of my friends to give any government exam. I will take admission in a private engineering college,” she said. 

Medical students and junior doctors under banner of Trinamul Congress Medical Cell participate in a protest against alleged irregularities in NEET-UG 2024 Entrance Examination results, in Calcutta, Tuesday, June. 11, 2024
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Medical students and junior doctors under banner of Trinamul Congress Medical Cell participate in a protest against alleged irregularities in NEET-UG 2024 Entrance Examination results, in Calcutta, Tuesday, June. 11, 2024

PTI

Ayana Sarkar, West Bengal

Ayana wants counselling to begin as soon as possible so that she has enough time to prepare for NEET for postgraduate studies. “I have seen a relative from the COVID batch struggle because his delayed MBBS left him barely any time to prepare for NEET PG,” she said. She believes that this year’s exams have been entirely unfair, however she does not want to take a drop year and sit for the exam again. “I don’t want to be stuck in this rat race that is doomed from the start for honest people who play fair, “ she said. She believes that the number of students awarded grace marks was much higher than 1500. “I am sure it was a few lakh of them. However, from my perspective, conducting the re-exam for those 1500 students is better than a re-exam for all,” she said. 

The Supreme Court sought responses from the Centre and the NTA, and  said the PIL will also be taken up with other pending ones on July 8, when the top court will start functioning after the summer vacation.

(All names have been changed to protect the identity of students)

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