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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 15 July 2024 2.21 AM IST

NEET-UG exam controversy; future of students should not be played with for political gain

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67 aspirants topping the NEET-UG, the national medical entrance exam, have raised serious doubts about the exam. Usually, only two or three people get first rank. Each question carries four marks. A student who gets just one question wrong used to score 716 marks in the previous exams. This year some have got 719 and 718 marks for the first time. The National Testing Agency (NTA) explained that this happened because of grace marks. This does not seem credible to students and parents. Only three people got full marks in 2021 and two in 2023. Naturally, there will be doubts when 67 people get full marks.

The most prevalent suspicion is whether the question paper has been leaked. The question papers of exams conducted by the central government including for the railways had been leaked before. The highest number of people caught for impersonation is in medicine entrance exams. It has to be proved that there was no sabotage attempt or mismanagement through a thorough investigation. The fact that six students who took the exam at the same centre in Haryana got full marks further raises doubts. Mistakes in awarding grace marks have also been found. Wrong answers have also been given grace marks. According to NTA, more people got first rank due to the allotment of grace marks to one question from the Physics section.

The explanation that the number of first rankers has increased due to the increase in the number of candidates and the ease of the exam will not satisfy anyone. Even those who know the correct answer to all the questions will have to skip some questions due to the time limit. Taking into account all this, it must be considered unusual that 67 people got full marks. Therefore, the opposition parties have demanded that the exam be re-conducted. The central government should not deny this demand because this issue affects the future of thousands of students. Most of the students face NEET after spending lakhs on coaching etc.

There are rumours that the question paper was leaked through Telegram groups. A high-level investigation should be conducted immediately to find out the exact situation. It is important to know without doubt why some aspirants got high marks, ranks, etc. like never before. If it is decided to conduct the exam again, it should be done immediately. If not, many students may miss out on better opportunities and even an academic year. Political parties should not try to turn this into a political issue and argue against each other just because the opposition has alleged irregularities. As it is an issue related to the future of students, the Union Ministry of Education and the new Union Minister who is going to take charge of it should approach the issue with utmost seriousness.

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