NEET Nostrums: The Hindu Editorial

NEET Nostrums: The Hindu Editorial

There was no uncertainty over the medical admission process this year in Tamil Nadu. There were no attempts to get an exemption from the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET). And, willy-nilly, as many as 1.14 lakh aspirants took the examination that has been made mandatory by the Supreme Court as the sole admission window for medical colleges. Yet, the poor performance of students from Tamil Nadu in the entrance test has demonstrated that the State is still far from being ‘NEET-ready’. It is true that a well-intentioned beginning has been made to upgrade the syllabus and to make students more competitive. However, only 45,336 candidates, or 39.6% of those who took the test, qualified for admission. Along with Maharashtra, this is the lowest ratio in the country. What is important is that these candidates are merely eligible for admission, and far fewer students are actually likely to get admission. Further, the chances of many of the candidates in the lower percentiles gaining entry into a government medical college are quite low, and many of them may not be able to afford to pay for seats in private colleges. Proponents of NEET may maintain that its objectives — ensuring uniformity in standards of medical education by admitting students on the basis of a common national test and eliminating capitation fee for medical courses in private institutions — are being successfully met. However, it is a moot question whether the commercialisation of education has been really eliminated, and whether the admission policy is sufficientlyinclusive for this large and diverse country. Lavish advertisements, as well as interviews with toppers, make it quite obvious that those who can afford expensive coaching classes have a distinct advantage in this system. Like many other competitive examinations, NEET has spawned a coaching industry, with some parts of the country proving to be ideal locales for academic sweatshops. Many of those in the top percentiles have attended long-term coaching classes as well as crash courses, paying exorbitant fees. There is anger in Tamil Nadu against this perceivedsocio-economic asymmetry built into the medical admission process that keeps medical courses out of bounds for disadvantaged sections. Such feelings intensified as a result of at least two young women committing suicide after they failed to clear NEET. One of them had enough marks in her higher secondary examination to gain admission to a medical college, if the State government had its own admission system. But overall, there is no escaping the fact that the country is committed to having uniform standards in medical education, and that this can play a role in meeting the important objective of maintaining standards in health care. NEET is here to stay, and State governments are now best-advised to upgrade academic standards and prepare their students better. This will help in seeing that India’s healthcare infrastructure continues to get a steady inflow of medical manpower drawn from all sections of society.


1) Uncertainty
Meaning: The state of being uncertain.
Example: “Times of uncertainty and danger”
Synonyms: Unpredictability, Unreliability.
2) Exemption
Meaning: The action of freeing or state of being free from an obligation or liability imposed on others.
Example: “Vehicles that may qualify for exemption from tax”
Synonyms: Immunity, Exception.
3)  Willy-Nilly
Meaning: Whether one likes it or not.
Example: “He would be forced to collaborate willy-nilly”
Synonyms: Whether one likes it or not, Of necessity.
4) Mandatory
Meaning: Required by law or mandate; compulsory.
Example: “Wearing helmets was made mandatory for pedal cyclists”
Synonyms: Obligatory, Compulsory.
5) Well-Intentioned
Meaning: Having or showing good intentions despite a lack of success or fortunate results.
Example: “Well-intentioned advice”
6) Upgrade
Meaning: Raise (something) to a higher standard, in particular improve (equipment or machinery) by adding or replacing components.
Example: “Upgraded computers”
Synonyms: Improve, Better.
7) Afford
Meaning: Have enough money to pay for.
Example: “The best that I could afford was a first-floor room”
Synonyms: Pay for, Bear/meet the expense of.
8) Proponent
Meaning: A person who advocates a theory, proposal, or course of action.
Example: “A strong proponent of the free market and liberal trade policies”
Synonyms: Advocate, Supporter.
9) Ensure
Meaning: Make certain that (something) will occur or be the case.
Example: “The client must ensure that accurate records are kept”
Synonyms: Make sure, Make certain.
10) Moot
Meaning: Subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty.
Example: “Whether the temperature rise was mainly due to the greenhouse effect was a moot point”
Synonyms: Debatable, Open to debate.
11) Commercialization
Meaning: The process of managing or running something principally for financial gain.
Example: “The escalating commercialization of athletics”
12) Sufficiently
Meaning: To an adequate degree; enough.
Example: “He recovered sufficiently to resume his duties”
13) Lavish
Meaning: Sumptuously rich, elaborate, or luxurious.
Example: “A lavish banquet”
Synonyms: Sumptuous, Luxurious.
14) Obvious
Meaning: Easily perceived or understood; clear, self-evident, or apparent.
Example: “Unemployment has been the most obvious cost of the recession”
Synonyms: Clear, Plain.
15) Distinct
Meaning: Recognizably different in nature from something else of a similar type.
Example: “The patterns of spoken language are distinct from those of writing”
Synonyms: Clear, Clear-cut.
16) Spawn
Meaning: Produce or generate a large number of.
Example: “The decade spawned a bewildering variety of books on the forces”
Synonyms: Give rise to, Bring about.
17) Sweatshop
Meaning: A factory or workshop, especially in the clothing industry, where manual workers are employed at very low wages for long hours and under poor conditions.
Example: “The situation is similar to migrant workers in sweatshops”
18) Perceived
Meaning: Interpret or regard (someone or something) in a particular way.
Example: “If Guy does not perceive himself as disabled, nobody else should”
Synonyms: Look on, View.
19) Asymmetry
Meaning: Lack of equality or equivalence between parts or aspects of something; lack of symmetry.
Example: “There was an asymmetry between the right and left ears”
20) Intensified
Meaning: Become or make more intense.
Example: “The dispute began to intensify”
Synonyms: Escalate, Step up.
21) Commit
Meaning: Perpetrate or carry out (a mistake, crime, or immoral act).
Example: “He committed an uncharacteristic error”
Synonyms: Carry out, Do.

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