Tamil Nadu’s Medical and Health Care to Go Down if NEET Continues – Justice AK Rajan Committee 

New Delhi, 22 September 2021 – The Tamil Nadu government on Monday, 20th September 2021, released the recommendations of Retired Justice AK Rajan Committee to the public. The committee’s 165-page report highlighted that due to NEET and the culture of coaching classes, “the rural and urban poor may not be able to join the medical courses.” 

“If it happens, Tamil Nadu may go back to pre-independence days and only ‘barefoot doctors’ would cater for the needs in small towns and villages, tanking and ruining the State’s Medical and Health Care,” it warned.

Last week (14th September 2021), Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin suggested the cancellation of NEET exams. Supporting the submitted report, he said, “If the NEET exam continues for a few more years, it would affect the healthcare infrastructure of Tamil Nadu. This, in turn, might possibly bring a shortage of doctors’ appointments in primary health centres and government hospitals.”

NEET Elimination – Report Details

The report highlighted several shortcomings and brought them to light. 

  • The report from Retired Justice AK Rajan Committee stated that the students from rural regions and poor backgrounds are losing access to medical education. 
  • In both government and self-financed colleges, the number of admissions secured by the rural students was analysed to be far less than the urban students. The percentage of rural students came down after the introduction of NEET in 2017.
Year Admission Percentage of Rural Students Admission Percentage of Urban Students
Before NEET
2015-16 62.8% 32.2%
2016-17 65.2% 34.8%
After NEET
2017-18 55.5% 44.5%
2019-20 48% 52%
2020-21 49.91% 50.09%
  • Likewise, the percentage of state board students getting MBBS seats plummeted from 65.66% (2017) to 48.22% (2018) as NEET neglected Class 12 marks and promoted private coaching.
  • It denied opportunities to tribal, rural and oppressed students.
  • The admission percentage of CBSE students increased from 0.39% to 24.91% in just one year after the introduction of NEET, while Tamil medium students suffered.
  • The number of first-generation medical graduates getting the seats also came down from 24.9% to 13.6% after the introduction of NEET in Tamil Nadu.
  • The average number of government school students getting MBBS admissions per year also decreased from 34 to 3 after the introduction of NEET. 
  • No student from government schools got admitted to government medical colleges in 2018.
  • The admission percentage of students whose parent’s annual income is less than 2.5 lakhs per year also came down from 47.42%  to 30.6% after the introduction of NEET.
  • Before NEET, 87.5% of current-year students entered medical colleges. However, the percentage reduced to 28.5 in 2020-21 as 71.4% repeaters grabbed the medical seats.
  • The report pointed that the students were shelling out Rs 1 lakh to Rs 4.5 lakh per year for coaching classes.

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NEET Elimination – Committee’s Recommendations to States

The 165-page report stated 20 reasons to consider NEET’s elimination and suggested the twin-route of legislative and legal procedures to achieve the same. 

This included several recommendations, which are:

  • State Government’s Immediate Action – The report mentioned that Tamil Nadu would go down in the rank among states in the Medical and Health Care system if the State government did not undertake immediate steps to eliminate NEET from being used in admission to medical programmes at all levels. It suggested the states to follow the required legal and/or legislative procedures to scrap NEET.
  • Passing Act 3/2007 – The state government can pass Act 3/2007 at all levels of medical education as a step towards eliminating NEET and get the President’s assent to do so. 
  • High Secondary Scores as Admission Criteria – As per the Committee’s suggestion, the higher secondary scores can be made the sole admission criteria for admissions into the first-degree medical programmes. Normalization of scores would further ensure equal opportunity for students from different boards of education.
  • Identification of Adversities – The socio, economic and other demographic adversities should be identified, which causes poor performance among disadvantaged/underprivileged students in their Class 12 examination. As per the degree of intensities of adversities, re-profiling of scores can be done using a pre-developed framework of ‘Adversity Score’.
  • Inclination towards Learning, Not Coaching – The Committee strongly condemned the culture of ‘coaching.’ They claimed that the coaching culture is gradually replacing the ‘natural learning system’, which is a vital aspect for the would-be-doctors (medical aspirants) to acquire all skills like reasoning, decision making, judgmental, analytical, and psychosocial skills. All these skills can be acquired only in the schooling-learning method and not only via coaching methodology.

So, school education (up to HS level) should be reformed. Learning should be fostered and when required be tweaked toward enabling and empowering students with subject knowledge. In particular, the rote form of learning assessment that leads to coaching should be eliminated and the focus should be on acquired knowledge and skills.

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  • Bringing Deemed University under One Circle – The committee has suggested the Tamil Nadu government to pass Act 3/2007, take the President’s assent and bring the concerned State’s Deemed Universities under one roof.

The above points are vital suggestions to prevent seat blocking and enable the provision for Tamil Nadu students to run Union Government-run colleges. 

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