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NEET Row Possibly Fueled by Coaching Centres Hurt by Easier Exam, Govt Sources Indicate

The controversy surrounding the NEET (UG)-2024 examination might be fueled by coaching institutes, according to government sources. These institutes, whose students did not perform well, are allegedly driving the uproar over the reduced syllabus and easier question papers. On Thursday, the Centre informed the Supreme Court of its decision to revoke the grace marks given […]

The controversy surrounding the NEET (UG)-2024 examination might be fueled by coaching institutes, according to government sources. These institutes, whose students did not perform well, are allegedly driving the uproar over the reduced syllabus and easier question papers.

On Thursday, the Centre informed the Supreme Court of its decision to revoke the grace marks given to 1,563 candidates, who now have the option to retake the exam administered by the National Testing Agency (NTA). The Supreme Court did not halt the counselling process. Despite no evidence of a paper leak, some coaching institutes are reportedly raising doubts about the examination’s integrity.

Government sources indicated that coaching institutes with poor-performing students in NEET (UG)-2024 are leading the protests. In contrast, other coaching institutes have remained silent. The 2024 NEET (UG) exam featured a 15% reduced syllabus, saw an increased number of applicants at about 23.3 lakh, and had a relatively easier question paper.

Reasons for Improved Student Performance

Sources noted that coaching institutes, which benefit from a complex and extensive syllabus, are disadvantaged by the simpler NEET (UG)-2024 curriculum. With a more straightforward syllabus, fewer students felt the need for intensive coaching. The higher cut-offs this year were attributed to an additional 20 minutes provided to complete the exam.

With a smaller syllabus, students had sufficient time for thorough revision, leading to better performance and higher scores. Additionally, the absence of an upper age limit and the allowance for unlimited attempts enabled experienced candidates to score higher in subsequent tries. A more challenging question paper would benefit the coaching industry but disadvantage rural students who cannot afford expensive coaching.

Impact of the New Act on Coaching Institutes

In February, the government enacted the stringent Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, introducing comprehensive guidelines for coaching institutions. This Act defines the conditions for registering coaching centres, addresses fee-related issues, sets infrastructure requirements, and establishes a code of conduct. It also emphasizes mental well-being, prioritizes counsellors and psychologists, prohibits batch segregation, and mandates record maintenance. Government sources suggested that this Act might have displeased coaching institutes, leading them to question the NTA’s credibility through the NEET-2024 controversy.

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National Testing AgencyNEETNEET-2024 controversy.Supreme Court