The Medical Council of India, also known as MCI, has barred students pursuing or have completed their 10+2 certificate examination through open or distance mode, from appearing for common medical entrance through NEET 2018.
The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) falls under the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry. This decision has been criticized by many saying that this would deprive thousands of students of the opportunity to pursue a medical education.
According to an official, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar and Union health minister JP Nadda will further discuss this proposition over the course of a few meetings. The final decision will be revealed in January itself.
With the current decision in play, there will be a decrease in the number of students for the screening process. Every year, more than 2 lakh students register with NIOS. In 2017, nearly 3,000 NIOS students registered for NEET. An official with NIOS was quoted saying, “Across India, the number would be higher. Out of 3,000 NIOS students [in 2017], 864 qualified the test too. So it is unfair to bar them”.
In an official letter to NIOS, the Medical Council of India said that they examined the proposal to allow students of open board and distance education to take the examination. However, concluded that NIOS students would not be on the same level as those from regular mode. A line from the official letter issued by MCI in 2017, read “…they would be ineligible for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test on an equitable basis”.
NIOS officials have challenged this decision, claiming that the MCI board of governors had earlier said that if the required criteria of graduate medical education is fulfilled by students appearing in 10+2 certificate exams conducted by NIOS, then these students will be eligible for MBBS admission.
NIOS officials pointed out that the syllabus for open board exams is rigorous and students are examined on the syllabus for class XI and XII making them eligible for NEET. While other boards examine learners have to go through class XII syllabus only.
However, MCI official said “We can’t equate regular students with those who complete class 12th from correspondence as the latter don’t get practical lessons,” This decision has caused quite a stir in the medical community, with people either supporting or opposing it. While there are a few supporters of this bill, there are many who oppose it. The final decision on the matter is still pending.