Despite scoring a high 95 percent in Class 12, many students under the Tamil Nadu state board like Alarmel Valli will not make it to their dream MBBS course in the state. Even high scorers could not crack the mandatory NEET like their counterparts who studied under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The Tamil Nadu government had reserved 85 per cent of the seats to help state board students, but the Madras High Court has struck it down.
"CBSE and State board syllabi are far different. How can there be a uniform exam? And we had just one month time to prepare. The government kept telling us we will be exempted from NEET," Alarmel Valli said.
Not far away from Alarmel Valli, it's a nightmare for CBSE student Joseph Thomas Padam as well. He slogged for a year taking a break and cracked the entrance exam after joining a coaching centre in Kerala. Still there's uncertainty over admission as Tamil Nadu seeks exemption from NEET. There's no sign of counselling. Time is also running out for all-India seats. Joseph Thomas said, "CBSE students are discriminated (against). Even after qualifying by merit we are stranded. This is because we are a minority. We need justice."
Her mother T Anita added, "Doctors deal with lives. Shouldn't merit be the criterion?"
The state says it is considering challenging the Madras High Court order in the Supreme Court besides adopting an ordinance with the approval of the central government. Finance Minister D Jayakumar said, "We don't want NEET. We are doing our best."
The court was also critical of the quality of school education in Tamil Nadu. While the anxiety continues for medical aspirants, many ask why successive state governments failed to improve quality of school education as cited by court.
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