NEET: Major hurdle for TN students is language

By NT Bureau Published on Mar 28, 2017 02:50 PM IST

Chennai: With 88,478 students from Tamilnadu taking up the National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET) this year, among the 11,35,104 candidates appearing nationwide, a controversy on the books have risen now. Although students can write the exam in 10 languages, including Tamil, the syllabus books are available only in Hindi and English, which has made students struggle to read the subjects in English and write the exam in their mother tongue. The exam, which is being conducted to fill more than 50,000 MBBS and BDS seats for the academic year 2017- 18, will be conducted on 7 May.

Having been conducted in English alone last year, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that the exam can be written by students in 10 languages - Hindi, English, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Odia and Kannada - this year. Sources say that students are left confused regarding their preparation with just over a month to go. However, experts say such entrance exams are a must and the Central and State governments should have sorted out the issue with regard to regional languages.

Talking about the issue, Doctor's Association for Social Equality general secretary Dr G R Ravindranath said, "Entrance examinations have become the need of the hour. NEET exam is important and it will enable many students to pursue their studies all over India. However, the unavailability of books in Tamil is sad. Students have to study in either Hindi or English and translate that into Tamil. This will take away a lot of their preparation time. The Central and State governments should have thought about this earlier. Stating that exams can be written in their mother tongue but not providing books accordingly is not a good move by the government."

He added that the Tamilnadu government had missed the chance of changing the syllabus in 2007. "When they brought in 'Samacheer Kalvi', they could have upgraded the syllabus to CBSE levels. That would have helped students get an updated syllabus and enabled them to compete at the national level."

Ravindranath also added that it would not take more than a month for experts to bring out books in Tamil for the students, if the government wished to do so.With students set to take up the exam with such uncertainty, experts have said it might affect their competetiveness.

With over 40 per cent increase in the number of students registering for NEET this year, the CBSE has decided to conduct the exam in 23 more cities taking the number to 103. In Tamilnadu, the exams will be held in Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruchi, Salem, Namakkal, Vellore and Tirunelveli, with the latter three being new centres. A mobile application has also been developed to help the nearly 12 lakh students, who are expected to take the exam, in locating the nearest test centre.