Joint pre-medical exam likely for 2016-17 session

The All India Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Entrance exam for the academic year

2016-17 may not be held as scheduled on May 1,2016. A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, seeking a direction to hold the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) this year, which will be a joint medical entrance test for all medical colleges in India.

In its April 11 judgment, the Supreme Court recalled its 2013 verdict that quashed NEET and made it possible for the Medical Council of India (MCI) to hold a common examination for all dental, undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses.

MCI, the country’s top body responsible for regulating medical education, sent a proposal to introduce the common test in the 2016-17 academic year to the Union health ministry. “It could be possible to hold NEET this year if the time schedule fixed by SC is extended. We have forwarded the proposal to the government, let it take a call,” Dr Jayshree Mehta, president, MCI, told HT.

Senior health ministry officials said the ball was now in the HRD ministry’s court. “The onus of conducting the exam is on the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) that comes under HRD. We had written to them and if they agreed it was possible, we would have approached SC for an extension,” said a senior official.

India has more than 400 medical colleges, including government and private — currently, only government institutions have a common medical entrance test. These colleges offer 31,000 undergraduate medical and dental seats (MBBS and BDS) and 11,000 PG (MD) seats.

The CBSE was planning to go ahead with the May 1 exam. “There were talks at the higher level but we weren’t conveyed anything. In such a scenario, we had no choice but to go ahead with the exam. If there’s a directive from court or otherwise, we may reconsider,” said an HRD ministry official.

A plea was also made to stay the exam. MCI’s senior advocate, Vikas Singh, informed court that the body was ready with a test schedule. But CBSE counsel submitted that he needed instructions on whether it was possible to hold the exam.

Courtesy: Hindustan Times, 28 Apr 2016 – p.15

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