Chennai: Former Madras High Court Judge Justice A K Rajan has urged the Tamil Nadu government to promptly take action to abolish the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) using legal and/or legislative means, advocating for higher secondary examination marks as the sole criterion for admission to first-year medical programs, as reported by news agency PTI. Justice Rajan emphasised the importance of ensuring equal opportunities for students from different educational boards and recommended the normalization of scores to achieve this objective. The retired judge, who chaired a high-level committee formed after the DMK came to power in 2021, made these recommendations after studying the impact of the NEET-based admission process.

The committee’s report, which is based on extensive data analysis and feedback from students, parents, and the public, has been disseminated to various state governments to highlight the detrimental effects of NEET on socioeconomic justice.

“DMK was the first to foresee the hazards of #NEET and undertook a large-scale campaign against it,” Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK president M K Stalin, said in a post on the social media platform X, sharing the comprehensive report submitted to his government, in English and other regional languages.

In its recommendations, the committee suggested that the state government should take immediate steps to eliminate NEET as a qualifying criterion for admission to medical programs, using the necessary legal and/or legislative procedures. They proposed that the state government assert the specificity of Entry 32 as an exclusive state subject, which cannot be disregarded, contrasting it with the general provision of ‘University education’ found in Entry 25 List III and ‘Regulation of Universities’ in Entry II.

The committee also suggested that admission to affiliated colleges under the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University should be governed by Act 3 of 2007, and the state should follow the requisite procedures to ensure compliance with legal and constitutional provisions.

Alternatively, the state government could pass an Act similar to Act 3/2007, specifically indicating the need for the elimination of NEET from all levels of medical education, and obtain the President’s assent to uphold social justice and protect vulnerable student communities from discrimination.

Furthermore, the committee recommended that higher secondary scores should be the sole admission criterion for first-degree medical programs, advocating for the normalization of scores to ensure equality among students from different educational boards. They proposed the identification of socio-economic and demographic adversities affecting student performance and suggested the re-profiling of scores accordingly using an Adversity Score framework.

Also Read: Students Protest Near Education Ministry, Demand Probe Into NEET ‘Irregularities’

The committee emphasised the need for reform in school education up to the higher secondary level, focusing on fostering learning over coaching, and restructuring the curriculum, teaching methods, and assessment practices to empower students with subject knowledge and higher-order skills. They called for the elimination of rote learning assessments that promote coaching and emphasised the importance of focusing on acquired knowledge and skills.

Regarding deemed universities, the committee recommended that the Tamil Nadu Assembly pass an Act to bring all deemed universities under its purview, similar to Act 3/2007, and obtain the President’s assent.

Following the recommendations, the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly unanimously passed a Bill seeking exemption from NEET, which is now awaiting Presidential assent after facing delays from the Tamil Nadu Governor’s side. As opposition to NEET grows nationwide due to recent discrepancies, Chief Minister Stalin stated that they are sharing the Justice A K Rajan Committee’s report in English and major Indian languages to raise awareness about the adverse effects of NEET.

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