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  Opinion   Edit  23 Jun 2024  AA Edit | Cancel Neet-UG exam and hold retest for all

AA Edit | Cancel Neet-UG exam and hold retest for all

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jun 24, 2024, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Jun 24, 2024, 12:05 am IST

Union Government Orders CBI Probe into NEET-UG Exam Irregularities

Students stage a protest over the NEET-UG and UGC-NET examinations issue, in New Delhi, Thursday, June 20, 2024. (PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore)
 Students stage a protest over the NEET-UG and UGC-NET examinations issue, in New Delhi, Thursday, June 20, 2024. (PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore)

After dithering over weeks despite strong observations by the apex court, the Union government has finally acknowledged the possibility of foul play in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for undergraduate medical courses (Neet-UG) and ordered an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the “cases of alleged irregularities/cheating/impersonation/malpractices” in it.

A barrage of reports on the other competitive examinations, including the National Eligibility Test (NET) and the CSIR-UGC NET examinations, has also forced the government take a series of measures, which include the removal of the head of the National Testing Agency (NTA) and the setting up of a review panel of experts to make the conduct of the competitive examinations fool proof. The government has also postponed the Neet examination for post-graduate courses which was scheduled for June 23.

The events that unfolded after the publication of the Neet-UG results on June 4 in which an unprecedented number of 67 students scoring full marks should have prompted the government to act with alacrity and take immediate steps to see if something had gone wrong.  But it did not; it was in denial instead. That even the Supreme Court openly questioning the sanctity of the examination did not awaken the government from its slumber, with the education minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, claiming that there was no evidence of leakage of the question papers and dismissing the allegations as being motivated.

The government, which is “committed to ensuring the sanctity of examinations and protect the interest of students”, now has been forced to act but only after it was pushed to the corner by a turn of events unacceptable to people who believe in the systems which the country has built assiduously over the decades. The removal of the head of the NTA should have immediately followed the surfacing of the serious allegations.

However, it defies logic that Mr Pradhan, who presided over the decadent system that failed the students and the nation at large, before, during and after the examinations, is being allowed to continue. That the corrosion in the system is so pervasive that it has almost brought itself down has not dawned on him yet. One can only hope that the review panel under the former chairman of the Indian Space research Organisation, comprising people in the higher education system, will be able to identify the moles and loopholes.

There has been clamour for cancelling the Neet-UG examination held on May 5. The Supreme Court has already sent notices to the NTA and the Union government on petitions calling for a retest. It will be difficult for the government to defend its earlier stand that there was no shortcoming in the conduct of examination after ordering a CBI investigation into the allegations. Given the observations the apex court has made earlier, and to remove the chances of people getting into medical courses through fraudulent means, it will be best for the government to cancel the Neet-UG and take early steps towards the conduct of a retest. 

Tags: national testing agency, cbi probe, aa edit, neet ugc