Mumbai: Even though the Supreme Court in its verdict on admissions to medical and dental colleges this year made it very clear that implementation of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance (NEET) was necessary to streamline admission to institutes across the country, very little streamlining seems to have happened. Lakhs of students have been spending anxious days and nights in order to get some clarity on MBBS and BDS admissions, while the government is still fumbling with the rules and regulations of admissions.

For starters, much confusion around validity of the state conducted Common Entrance Test (CET) was questioned and after months of ambiguity, an ordinance passed by President Pranab Mukherjee in May cleared the air that for only this year, admissions to government run institutes will be conducted on the basis of CET scores, whereas next year onwards, NEET would be the only score applicable for MBBS and BDS admissions all over the country. “This decision did dampen the spirit of many students, but with no option at hand the kids had to prepare for NEET and appear for the paper, but many were unhappy with the scores in the end,” said Rajesh Jain, state member for Parents Association for Medical Students (PAMS).

The purpose of introducing NEET was to ensure that any student from anywhere be able to apply to seats in institutes across the country based on the NEET score. The same was not acceptable by many deemed institutes in the beginning. “Imagine our children, who have already put through the stress of preparing for an entrance test in less than three months, were being asked to give separate tests for deemed institutes once again. We had to raise an objection,” said Ruiee Kapoor, parent of one of the medical aspirants. After intervention from the union health ministry, even the deemed institutes finally agreed to follow suit and admissions have begun on the basis of NEET scores in the state.

The confusion, however, still remains for many students. While those in the state are still seeking clarity on normalisation of NEET scores promised by the authorities, those from outside Maharashtra are facing new troubles as private medical colleges in the state are only giving preference to those from the state. “This rule has been decided by the state government to cater to those who are a domicile of the state. Second preference will go to outsiders,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER). This rule is not followed in most of the other states. “Private college fees is lesser than that of deemed institutes, so we are being forced to opt for institutes with higher fees which is unfair. States like Delhi and Haryana have no such rule,” said Ankit Dhankar, a student from Delhi.

The schedule for admissions to private and deemed medical institutes in the state will be released only once the application process is over, said Shingare. “We will not waste any time but before the schedule is released, we need to know how many students have applied for admissions, accordingly a schedule will be announced,” he added.

Engineering students equally hassled

While engineering admissions in the state saw no trouble in comparison with the medical admissions, as the entry was based only on the MH-CET scores, the process if filling seats is still far from over. Even though the CET results were announced on June1, almost three months later seats in engineering institutes in the state are still being filled up by the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE). “We also had to delay the process a little taking into consideration the six rounds of admissions to IITs this year, due to which many students were withdrawing admissions from state engineering institutes. But the process is almost over now,” said D Meshram, from DTE.

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