(G.N.S) Dt. 24
Putting an end to speculations around the date of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) 2018, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced that the exam will be held on May 6.
Medical and dental aspirants from Maharashtra had been worried that the dates for NEET and the state Common Entrance Test (MH-CET) would clash. The MH-CET, which is conducted by the Directorate of Technical Education, Maharashtra for admissions to engineering, technology and pharmacy programmes, is scheduled on May 10.
While the Central Board of Secondary Examinations (CBSE) initially said that NEET 2017 will be conducted in eight languages including English, in the last week of January 2017 the board added two more languages to the list.
NEET 2017 was conducted in English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Assamese, Bengali, Kannada and Oriya but despite repeated requests by Student Islamic Organisation (SIO) as well as several other state government officials, Urdu was not included in this list.
The matter was dragged to court and the Supreme Court finally ordered CBSE to conduct NEET 2018 in eleven languages, including Urdu.
“Until now there was no word from the CBSE regarding NEET dates or the registration process, while the state CET cell had announced their exam date. Parents were frantic about a clash of the exam dates, as many medical aspirants also answer the CET as a backup,” said Anu Parikh, parent of a student.
While an official statement on the exam and registration process is yet to be released by the CBSE, the board has confirmed the date of examination. “The registration process will also begin soon,” said an official from CBSE.
A statement released on the CBSE website notes that the syllabus for NEET 2018 will remain the same as last year and that there will no changes. “There were some rumours about the possible inclusion of the state board syllabi to the NEET syllabus, but we are not making any such changes,” said the official.
Every year, lakhs of students from the state apply for NEET as well as the state-conducted CET to try their luck in medical as well as engineering courses. Officials from the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) said that the demand for engineering CET is on the rise, as it includes only the Maharashtra state board syllabus, unlike national level entrance exams that are based on the NCERT syllabus.
“Students were worried that they might have to choose between the two the exams this year, but CBSE’s announcement of NEET date has brought relief to lakhs of students in the state,” said Madhuri Mhatre, another parent.
NEET was introduced in May 2014 as an all-India test, but was scrapped in September the same year after receiving flak from students. States then began conducting their own CETs, based on the local school board syllabus. In April 2016, the Supreme Court of India reintroduced NEET, scrapping all state CETs to make NEET the single window entrance exam for admissions to all medical and dental institutes in the country. Soon, the Maharashtra Government decided to accept only NEET marks for admissions to other health science courses as well.