ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NEET for Medical Education: Finding a Balance

The Supreme Court has paved the way to hold the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test, a common entrance test for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses, from the 2016-17 academic year. It had earlier declared this test to be unconstitutional. This article critically looks at some of the important points of contention raised by various stakeholders associated with it.

Developing an effective healthcare delivery system and ensuring universal access to health both depend on the nature and quality of medical manpower a country produces (Dasgupta 2014). The role of human resources for health (particularly doctors) is also critical in realising the targets of sustainable development goals (SDG) on health (SDG 3) that aspire to ensure health and well-being for all, including a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030.1 The unregulated growth of medical education and poorly implemented regulations relating to admissions, faculty strength and infrastructure (especially in the private sector) adversely impact the quality of training in India’s medical institutions. Many private medical colleges are owned and managed by politicians and businessmen without any medical background viewed as they are as a business market with huge capitation fees and rampant corruption.

The role of the Medical Council of India (MCI) in establishing and maintaining high standards of medical education and recognition of medical qualifications is often questioned as, in practice, it is only a recommendatory body, without autonomy and authority. Given this situation, the Supreme Court’s green signal to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to hold the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), a common test for medical and dental courses, is viewed as a way out. This article critically examines some of the important points of contention raised by various stakeholders about NEET and reflects on some key policy issues in medical education that are related with it.

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