AA Edit | Neet: Key questions unanswered

Supreme Court scrutinises NEET-UG 2024 over alleged irregularities, potential question paper leaks, and questionable grace marks

Update: 2024-06-12 18:30 GMT
Supreme Court. (AP)

There must be something seriously wrong with the conduct and granting of marks in the medical entrance test Neet-UG examination of 2024. Several irregularities were noted in its conduct, including the possible leaking of the question paper, wrong issue of different question papers to different sections of students in parts of India and many more questions hanging over the results.

No wonder the Supreme Court decided to issue notice to the Centre as well as the National Testing Agency vested with the task of conducting the exam and correction of papers that lakhs of students take all over the country. It is the integrity of the testing system that is being doubted now after several egregious actions by the NTA.

With their whole career depending on their performance in the test to qualify for a medical education in dentistry and general medicine at the undergraduate level, student anxiety skyrocketed with the release of results.

The court has said that it might take extreme action like a retest if the anomalies are not properly explained. It is not often that students stand with placards decrying the exam system, but they are so alarmed by the glaring discrepancies in the test this year that they have been quite demonstrative about their grievances.

An unusual number of toppers — as high as 67 this time — as compared to just two last year and three on average in the last five years, grace marks awarded to 1,586 candidates on the grounds that there was “loss of time” in an offline test and 44 toppers getting grace marks despite getting an answer wrong because a Class 12 NCERT textbook had carried an inaccuracy were some of the glaring anomalies pointed out.

The testing agency and the government that has appointed it for the task of setting the question papers in confidential mode and putting them out to lakhs of candidates have much to answer and do it satisfactorily to convince the top court that injustice has not occurred because of the errors committed by the system.
The problems are cropping up at a time when there is intense resentment against the national test in many states, especially in Tamil Nadu where a retired judge listed how Neet has altered the medical entrance landscape, favouring students from affluent families because 99 per cent of students passing the test needed to train at special tuition academies and putting the CBSE stream of education at an advantage over others. As the court said, NTA and the Centre have a lot to answer for.

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