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  • Writer's pictureSanjana N.

Shedding Tears in Both Preparation of Exams and Their Aftermath: Is the Effect of the NEET Results Worsening Year by Year?

Background:

The saying "life is a race and you have to run" echoes strongly from adolescence into young adulthood, compelling students aged 16-19 to pursue academic excellence in competitive exams like NEET, JEE, and CLAT. Among these, NEET's recent scandal has gathered widespread attention across social media and print media.


The controversy surrounds 67 candidates, announced on June 4, 2024, who achieved a perfect score of 720/720, marking a substantial increase in high scorers compared to the previous year. The National Testing Agency has defended its administration of the exam, attributing the allocation of "grace marks" to over 1,500 students in response to "loss of exam time". With approximately 2.4 million candidates vying for 1,08,940 MBBS seats across 4,750 centers, several petitions contesting the NEET results have been filed, leading to the formation of a dedicated four-member panel by the education ministry to conduct a rigorous inquiry.


Student Perspectives:

I interviewed twenty students, aged 17-18, to gather their opinions and reactions to the recent NEET scandal. At the outset, all students were unequivocally disappointed with the current outcome. 

In the wake of this scandal, students have faced profound challenges to their mental well-being and self-assurance, wrestling with heightened levels of anxiety and disappointment. One student, who has given up on their dream of becoming a doctor, expressed, 

"It has influenced me in such a way that no matter how much effort I put for upcoming exams, I'd still have the fear of failing again." 

Nevertheless, their resilience is unwavering. On the flip side, another student shared, "It made me realize that effort alone isn't sufficient.", illustrating that despite the personal impact, students believe it's crucial to make up for the lost time and effort.


Broader Reflections:

This incident has led to wider contemplation on the integrity of the entire education system in India and sparked discussions about potential changes in the college admissions process, to reduce dependence on extensive entrance examinations.


The National Testing Agency (NTA), on June 4, swiftly refuted the claims and emphasized that the allegations of paper leaks are "completely baseless and without any grounds."

The allegations?


  1. The agency underlined that rigid security protocols and standard operating procedures were in place to "ensure the integrity of the exam" and conduct it in a "fair and transparent manner."

  2. In response to concerns about technical glitches, the NTA acknowledged that some students encountered issues, but maintained that these were isolated incidents. Additionally, they assured that affected candidates would be given a fair chance, and their scores would be reviewed if necessary.

  3. Furthermore, the NTA attributed the increased number of high scorers to a larger candidate pool and changes in the NCERT textbooks.

  4. The irregular marks received by some candidates were explained as "grace marks" for lost examination time. 

 

One student, who is re-preparing for their exam expressed concerns about the recent response given by the NTA,

The talks of reexamination have put us in a tough spot as it has filled us with a dilemma regarding whether it is something helpful for our future or something that is just done for namesake political play.

The response to the scandal has undoubtedly been inadequate, failing to justify the exceptional dedication and hard work exhibited by students. The agency's response falls short of fairness, leaving students skeptical about the prospects for future candidates. When asked about offering advice to future students, a prevailing sentiment emerged, with one student stating, 

The best advice is, if they desire a peaceful life, they should steer clear of these types of exams. While it may appear manageable from an outsider's perspective, the reality is akin to a dead end. The success rate is alarmingly low, posing potential trauma for some students. 

Another student shared, "I couldn't do much. I simply accept the reality and move on."


Emotional and Practical Impact:

The scandal has prompted students to reflect on the investment of energy, resources, and time, while also juggling the demands of accompanying school exams and assignments.

As a student shares,

I think preparing for this has made me feel that I have become someone who can withstand the pressure of the expectations, and standards that have all been put upon me by the society, my family, and even partly myself.

However, the pressure to excel in school, coupled with parental expectations and the inherent responsibility of securing college admission without financial assistance, has also led students to abandon their aspirations of preparing for the NEET and pursuing a career in medicine.

 

In the face of these pressures, students were further disheartened by the misrepresentation of the results due to the scandal. One student, who looked eager for their results, expressed, "I needed to convince my parents it's not my fault".


Another student shared,

I don't think it affects us in a personal or self-evaluatory aspect but the societal evaluation which includes comparison and discussion upon our caliber to perform does affect our mindset. It makes us think, ‘Should we get into this’ or ‘Do we have the caliber to attend these examinations.

From shedding tears and spending effort in preparation, to shedding tears due to the outcome, the emotional toll on the students has been deep.


Socio-Economic Disparities

Many students assert that competitive exams like NEET highlight the socio-economic disparities within the country. When asked if the marginalized community has affordable resources for coaching, a student elaborates,

As someone who didn't get coaching for the examinations, I would say coaching might not be really necessary (be)cause just the subject books and guides to understand the concepts in subjects like physics would be enough. For students from marginalized backgrounds, just them giving their all with their subject books would give them enough marks.

However, the real battle begins after scoring their marks. Students argue that successful NEET candidates often secure admission to private colleges by paying considerable fees, exceeding merit with financial capability. One student boldly questions,

"What's the purpose of pursuing a medical career if it's only feasible for the affluent?" 


Another student shares that

the cost of coaching for these examinations can be a mammoth undertaking for many. It does affect the quality of preparation cause many intricate details of the examination cannot be found elsewhere but are easily given in the coaching academies.

Conclusion:

The recent NEET controversy has sparked strong emotions among students who feel their voices are not adequately represented. People must recognize the significant pressure these exams impose on students juggling numerous school assignments and exams. While these exams offer a pathway to higher education for aspiring students, it is crucial to ensure fair evaluation, results, and impartial access based on merit and integrity.


As a student shares,

Exams in my perspective can just be a proof of the memory of the student at examination timing and it can never be a proof of their intelligence. So there is surely an upgrade needed in people's perspective of terming examination as something that life depends on.

Written by Sanjana N.




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1 Comment


Guest
Jun 23

Really well written and covers all necessary issues 👏

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