Chennai: When we at Crank’s News (Motto: ha. ha. ha.) decided to do a satirical feature on the NEET examination this year, we checked out what were the recent developments in the issue and immediately found that we were up against a bigger adversary in matters of creating spoof, the government (Motto: Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.).
For instance, one of the headlines that we came across while preparing for the piece was: “Medical aspirants gobble up engineering seats”.
Surely, despite writing satire for a living — which naturally means thinking up absolutely ludicrous, alternative, irresponsible scenarios — we could not have come up with the above. And by god, the above is absolute reality and nothing imagined about it.
Lesson learnt: As long as there are governments and politicians, satire has to play second fiddle to reality.
Despite this fact, we still decided to go ahead with the NEET feature, because we wanted to measure ourselves against the best in the business of being irresponsible and insensitive, the government.
Also: While the admission procedure via NEET is confusing enough, in Tamil Nadu we have further confounded by taking the principled position that nobody has any inkling of.
BUT HERE GOES:
What is NEET?
NEET, as should be obvious, is the abbreviation of Never Explain or Enlighten in Tamil. Oops, sorry that would be the Central government’s language policy. National Engineering Entrance Test could also be a possible expansion as at least in Tamil Nadu many of those who are hoping to become doctors and passed NEET have already enrolled themselves in some engineering college.
Potential doctors in engineering colleges? Why has this happened?
The NEET results may have been out last month. But in Tamil Nadu, they have not released the rank list till now because they suddenly realised NEET results fall under the Official Secrets Act. So, all those who wanted to become doctors are settling for the next best thing, which is to become extortionists or college owners.
Okay, that would seem logical. And anything connected with NEET is not logical. NEET rank list in TN is not out because the State does not want NEET and that is because the students don’t want NEET.
Left to themselves, the students will not want any examination. Will the government oblige? That cannot be an argument, right?
Well, the government and the general public in TN feel that since the CBSE is in charge of NEET, as such CBSE students will have an advantage over Tamil Nadu State Board students. Of course, the options before the State government were a) increase the quality of State Board education b) Prepare a curriculum that include NEET-type syllabus that will at least help prepare the medical aspirants.
But the State government, backed by popular opinion, has opted for the third option, which is to seek total exemption from NEET.
How is NEET different from the previous all India medical entrance exam?
Previously, there was plenty of room for hanky-panky as private colleges were allowed to charge extra through capitation fee for management quota seats. And medical seats went for, in some cases, for crores of rupees. Post-NEET, the situation is totally… no wait, there is still room for capitation fee and management seats.
But NEET is good because everyone is saying so.
Aside from Tamil Nadu, what is the stand of other States on NEET?
Almost all of them have accepted NEET because… they understand the point of NEET? No, a gun was pointed to their forehead.
No, not really. There has been murmurs of protest in places like West Bengal and Kerala based on the principled position that they are opposition governments and cannot be seen acceding to anything brought in by the ruling BJP at the Centre.
Does that mean that the opposition to NEET is pointless?
NEET is managed by CBSE, and everybody knows that the CBSE has a good track record in handling school education in this country for decades and a better experience in totally ruining it.
The different questions in different languages in NEET are a good case in point. Yes, for an all-India common entrance exam the questions were not common. This institution is what is going to sit on judgment as to what our kids are capable of.
How have the courts approached the matter?
As ever, the courts, true to their tradition of impartiality, have kept everyone guessing, but provided, at every turn, plenty of things to laugh at.
When time is of essence as by now the admission process should have been over, we are still debating whether we will have NEET or not. If the situation persists, this batch of medical students in Tamil Nadu will be the first one in history to join the course with arrears. Seriously, the college would seem to get going only next year.
You mean the courts have not shown urgency in NEET matter?
That would be an unfair thing to say. The courts only yesterday, in a quick verdict in a matter pertaining to NEET, had totally struck down a possible DMK march against NEET.
So how do you think will things pan out?
Well, the High Court has already said that the State government should consider CBSE syllabus for all Tamilnadu Board schools.
“Madras HC asks TN govt why all schools can’t follow CBSE syllabus.”
This is an actual headline of a real report.
As we said at the beginning, we satirists have no chance against reality. We might as well give up just like, well, students who had aspired for medical college seats this year.