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NEET 2018: Legal trouble over eligibility of Open School Students? All down to MoHFW and MCI

NEET, since the beginning has struggled with legal cases. With with year, this trend seems to continue. As per the guidelines of Medical Council of India, the students of the open school have been barred to appear in NEET 2018. The parents of such students have decided to move to supreme court. However, we believe that it may not amount to legal recourse as Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, (MoHFW) has reportedly asked MCI to reconsider the rule and its implementation for this year’s aspirants. 

The letter says that the eligibility of open school students citing that CBSE – the board that also organizes NEET examinations, has given recognition to the open school board and considered it equivalent to other board. Every year, thousands of candidates from open schooling boards from the country apply for the entrance examination. As many as 7,000 students had applied for the NEET 2017 last year from NIOS.

According to the MCI, the students in open schooling system do not have a similar level of subject knowledge as they do not attend classroom coaching. As such, they have been barred from appearing. As reported by TOI, Dr C V Bhirmanandham, Vice President, MCI has responded to the letter from the Health Ministry and confirmed that barring open school students was a collective decision. However, ‘they would further discuss the issue before coming to a conclusion.’

First introduced in 2013, NEET or National Eligibility cum Entrance Test was contested against by states. After a long legal battle, the Supreme Court intervened and mandated the implementation of the examination as the national level entrance test for all medical and dental undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the country. The court order’s delay posed a problem and a NEET 2 was conducted in 2016 for all the students who might have missed the opportunity the first time.

The legal battles pertaining to NEET did not end. The year 2017 was full of controversies and legal battles that forced CBSE to take back its decision on the upper age limit of 25 years. The results for NEET 2017 were also delayed due to concerns over the regional and English language paper discrepancies. 

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