Impact of NEET:
The Committee has done extensive data analyses by using various secondary sources including; Directorate of Medical Education, Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services, Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Service, School Education Department, The Tamil Nadu Dr.M.G.R Medical University, Technical Education Department, and government commissioned committees’ reports, documents, and research literature. This exercise was done to understand the discrimination and exclusion of students belonging to Tamil Medium, Government Schools, State board, Rural, Poor (with low parental income), first generation graduate, Backward Castes etc.
Impact on Tamil Nadu state Board:
Since the NEET became mandatory, the data shows that, the participation of students in the TN secondary board has declined. From 2011 to 2017 there has been an increasing trend. In the year 2011 total number of HSC student at 12th class recorded at 716543 and the total number increased to 893262 in the year 2017. This was the year when NEET exam started to happen after the 2016 judgement on the issue.
The total number of HSC 12th class students fell down to 779940 in the year 2020. The number has slipped down to 12.7%, with a loss in student size of 113,322, between 2017 and 2020, in the post-NEET period. Even the trends among both genders fell in the post-NEET period. The actual size of the boys and girls fell by 14.4% and 11.2% respectively in 2020 compared to 2017. The committee has assumed that, this happened possible because of students’ migration to the CBSE board.
Impact on Tamil Medium of Instruction:
Similar trends as above could be seen in the issue of medium of instruction. Number of Tamil medium students was in upward trend between the year 2011 and 2017 (with growth from 509246 to 563157). But it has been observed that the number of Tamil medium students fell down in subsequent years compared to the growing English medium students. In the post-NEET period, the Tamil medium students’ size went down by 24.8% whereas, that of the English medium rose to 8.4% between the period of 2017 and 2020.
In both the above impacts migration was also could be seen in the context of migration of students from government to private schools. Post-NEET period, in the cases of Govt. and Govt. Aided Schools, the student size fell by 18.5% and 14.1% respectively, whereas, in the same period, the private schools have maintained their student strength mostly unaltered.
In the post-NEET period the pass rate of Tamil Medium students of TNSBSE (Tamil Nadu Secondary Board School Education) has also have impacted, which is lesser than the English medium. Overall, the pass percentage of the students indicates an upward trend from 86% in 2011 to 92% in 2020 for Tamil Medium. But the pass percentage of the English medium students increases steadily (around 96%) which is marginally higher than Tamil medium students.
Pro English medium nature of NEET while admitting into MBBS:
It has been observed that the way the number of Tamil Medium students decreased during the post-NEET period, in the opposite manner the number of English medium candidates’ number of admissions in the MBBS has increased. In the Government lot, while the English medium students maintained an average of 56.02% in the pre-NEET and rose to 69.53% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET, the Tamil medium students fared at least 14.44% average in the pre-NEET and ended up at only 1.7% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET (Table 7.19).
Similarly, in the Self-Financed lot, the English medium group raised its share from the mean score of 26.15% in the pre-NEET to 28.34% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET, and the Tamil medium share fell down from the pre-NEET average of 3.39% to 0.47% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET. So, the Tamil Medium students are the worst affect students in the post-NEET period.
Admission into MBBS and Pro CBSE Bias:
In the post-NEET period the share of students from CBSE background has grown. It raises question over the nature of the syllabus of NEET. Does NEET have pro CBSE bias in the content? The committee report records, “the CBSE students exponentially increased their share to several folds in the post-NEET, while the English medium students had grown to become the largest seat holders in the Post-NEET from the status of the second largest holder in the pre-NEET period. Until the 7.5% reservation was introduced, in 2020-21, the Govt. students were the worst affected lot by the NEET.”
The rate of the applicants of the TNSBSE students has radically decreased from approximately 95% in pre-NEET period to 64.27% in 2020-21 as opposed to an exponential increase in the surging applicants of CBSE (from an average of 3.17% in pre-NEET to 32.26% in 2020-21). This shows that the percentage of the TNSBSE students applying for admission in MBBS fell down by approximately 30% but that of the CBSE students increased by 31%.
In the case of Govt. College admissions, while an upward trend of > 65% seats were filled by the TNSBSE students in the pre-NEET period, it went down to the lowest 43.13% in 2020-21. In contrast, the CBSE students who were at a negligible rate (av. 0.11%) of admission in pre-NEET rose to a quantum jump of 26.83% in 2020-21. A similar trend could be noticed in the Self-financed college admission as well.
Admission into MBBS and Pro-Urban bias:
The introduction of NEET has impacted rural students more during the admission into the both government and self-financed colleges. The participation of rural students in MBBS admission fell down in the post-NEET period and on the other hand the participation of urban students have increased in the post-NEET period.
In the Government lot, while the rural students maintained an average of 61.45% in the pre-NEET and fell down to 49.91% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET, the urban students who fared 38.55% average in the pre-NEET rose to 50.09% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET. Similarly, in the Self-Financed lot, the rural group dropped its share from the mean score of 53.67% in the pre-NEET to 47.14% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET, and the urban share rose from the pre-NEET average of 46.33% to 52.86% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET period.
MBBS admissions and pro-non-first-generation bias:
The data analyses of the Committee report suggest that there is pro Non First Generation learner bias over First Generation learner. At Overall level, in the government lot as well as self-financed lot the share of First Generation learner has decreased from pre-NEET period to the post-NEET period but at the same time the share of Non First Generation Learner has increased during the admission of MBBS in both Government lot and Self-Financed lot. Overall, percentage share of the FGG has reduced from 24.94% in 2016-17 to 14.46% in 2020-21 in the Government lot, while that of the Non-FGG rose to 85.54% in 2020-21 from 75.06% (Table 7.26).
In the Government lot, while the Non-FGG students maintained an average of 50.96% in the pre-NEET and rose to 60.29% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET, the FGG who fared at least 19.49% average in the pre-NEET ended up only with 10.46% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET (Figure 7.26 and Figure 7.16). Similarly, in the Self-Financed lot, the Non-FGG group raised its share from the mean score of 22.61% in the pre-NEET to 24.78% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET, but the FGG share fell down from the pre-NEET average of 6.93% to 4.01% in 2020-21 in the post-NEET. In both the scenario First Generation Learner has affected more during the post-NEET period with 45% share loss from pre-NEET period.
Impact on socially and economically marginalised students during MBBS admission:
While getting into MBBS students whose parent’s income is lesser than 2.5 lakh and students from backward caste have suffered during the post-NEET period. The committee report suggests that, “It clearly shows the trend favouring the group of >2.5 Lakhs compared to the <2.5 Lakhs group by at least 5% in difference before and after the NEET.” Percentage of admission of students belonging to >2.5 lakh into to MBBS had grown from 2010-11 to 2016-17 but fell after the introduction of NEET in the state.
This percentage has grown from 32.91 to 47.42 during pre-NEET period and the percentage fell down from 47.42 to 41.05. On the other hand during pre-NEET period the percentage of admission of students belonging to <2.5 lakh into to MBBS has fell down from 66.54 to 52.11 during pre-NEET period, which in the post-NEET period has increased from 52.11 to 58.95.
In the context of social groups General Category/Other Caste (OC) students benefited the most by the introduction on NEET. The Committee report says, Of the all social groups, OC and BC have shown a contrasting difference significantly – with the mean “OC’s share increased to almost 5.17% (Govt.) and 12.87% (Self-Financed) in the post- NEET from 3.34% (Govt.) and 6.08% (Self-Financed) in pre-NEET respectively, while all the other, except BCM have shown negative trend, though insignificantly in the groups of SC, SCA and ST.”
Coaching over learning:
The Committee report’s data suggests some alarming number which proves how NEET type of standardised testing has favoured the shadow education in the form of prior coaching and influenced the idea of coaching over learning. During the session 2010-11 current students’ share percentage was 92.85% and the repeater students’ share percentage was 7.15%.
This share has increased for the current status during 2014-15 with percentage share of 99.59%. During 2017-18 it has drastically fell down to 61.64%. Further, the share percentage of current students fell down to 28.58% whereas the share of repeaters has grown over the year, especially after the NEET became mandatory. In Pre-NEET era, the repeaters’ average admission rate was 8.12%, which eventually, after the NEET became 71.42% in 2020-21. Whereas, the First-timers (current students) were reduced to 28.58% in 2020-21 from an average pre-NEET rate of 91.87%.
Why has the trend of repeaters grown?
The committee answers that, majorly due to heavy reliance on coaching the repeater’s number has been increasing in the NEET exams. NEET is structured in such a way that, where a student’s continuum acquisition of knowledge becomes futile and concentrated coaching for the purpose of answering multiple choice becomes necessary.
The committee report says, during 2019-20, an eye-opening 99% of total students who have secured MBBS admission are of from coaching background. Most of them are from ‘repeaters’ category. The committee even observed some shocking realities, that most of the students from coaching background are being coached from 8th standard onwards.
This trend has led to growing coaching market. The report observed after data analyses, “the average cost of coaching of a student was arrived at Rs.95, 033/- and thus the average annual income of a Centre per year was Rs.13,95,32,202/-. Collectively, the total business of 400 plus coaching firms in Tamil Nadu is approximately Rs.5750 crore, exclusively incurred on NEET. The actual figure would be higher than this if a detailed investigation is made on this issue.” So, this perception has to be challenged where a student is judged his/her potential in the higher studies where large number of students are relying on prior coaching and ignoring the aspects of “continuum acquisition of knowledge.”
Recommendations of A.K Rajan Committee report:
- State Government may eliminate NEET by following necessary legal and legislative procedure.
- Implementation of Dr.M.G.R. Medical University Act (governed by Act 3 of 2007).
- Pass the Act at state level similar to the Act 3/2007 to ensure social justice.
- HSC Board scores shall become sole criteria to get MBBS admission.
- Using a pre-developed ‘adversity score’.
- Reforming school education till HSC where ‘learning’ is fostered over ‘coaching’