AK Rajan Committee report on NEET: ‘It promotes coaching, NOT learning’

The report said NEET created a lucrative, coaching-driven system where the poor and under-privileged can’t be part of   

NEET provides a barrier that only children from certain social strata can clear, experts say

National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) promotes coaching, not learning — that’s how the Tamil Nadu government-appointed AK Rajan Committee, to study the impact of the exam for medical courses, summed up in a report published late Monday evening (September 20).

The report said NEET created a highly lucrative, coaching-driven system where the poor and under-privileged can’t be part of, while the affluent make merry.

“In India, several coaching institutes have mushroomed ever since NEET was launched in 2016. There has been an alarming rise of ‘coaching factories’, both offline and online, generating around Rs 5,750 crore, which indicates how coaching has become a vital part of the whole exercise. Effectively, this ‘private coaching trend’ has become part of the success formula,” the report said, in a clearly indicting tone.

The report added in recent years, the percentage of repeaters has increased, again pointing at how these medical aspirants would turn to coaching institutes again —  and again.

“On average, a repeater has to invest Rs 10 lakh just for the coaching. For instance, the percentage of repeaters who gave secured admissions in MBBS programme rose to 72.42 per cent in 2020-2021, from a meagre 12.47 per cent in 2016-2017,” the report said.

Instead of “grooming children/students as educated human beings with relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes”, the NEET-driven system (both educational institutions and parents) has turned its focus “on just preparing to be successful for NEET”.

The report said “even a progressive state like Tamil Nadu” has been forced to take a cue from Uttar Pradesh in offering coaching to underprivileged students or financial assistance (like Ladakh does) to meritorious students,  driving home the point that how the system is heavily tilted by coaching.

The Committee observed that “coaching has replaced learning”, paving way for the entry of “poorly skilled candidates (who are otherwise strong financially and socially) into the sphere of medical education”.

Stating that the NEET has made learning redundant, the report alleged that medical aspirants studying Class XII are just “outsourcing private coaching for their success in NEET”.

“Wherever learning is overlooked by rote training, all-round grooming of students on multiple aspects, including logical reasoning, decision-making, social disposition, emotional intelligence and other abilities — essential for medical studies — will not be possible,” the report said.

Tamil Nadu recently adopted a bill restoring the system of admission on the basis of Class XII marks — an electoral promise of the DMK government — which now awaits the president’s approval.

(The Federal has been extensively covering the NEET controversy and a comprehensive copy of the committee report will be published later. Stay tuned)

Check out our coverage

Our webinar: What experts say: Why NEET is a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution

Also read Third suicide in 4 days: Stalin makes a heartfelt appeal to NEET aspirants