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Rediff.com  » News » NEET paper leak: 'There must be a retest'

NEET paper leak: 'There must be a retest'

By Vishal Narayan
June 21, 2024 00:26 IST
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'I do not think the scam is limited to 1,563 students. The number is too low to have caused such an inflation in the marks'

IMAGE: Police personnel detain National Students' Union of India supporters and students during a protest demanding the resignation of Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan over the alleged paper leak in the UGC NET exam, in Lucknow on Thursday, June 20, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Many medical aspirants are clamouring for a retest of the NEET-UG 2024 which has been plagued with charges of irregularities, paper leaks and steep rise in merit list, with the Centre's decision to cancel grace marks for 1,563 students doing little to assuage their concerns.

Student bodies and youth wings of many political parties have been holding protests countrywide to flag their concerns over the alleged irregularities in the prestigious exam that saw 67 students score a perfect 720, unprecedented in the National Testing Agency's (NTA) history.

With reports of paper leak and other discrepancies continuing to pour in, many students say they have lost faith in the conduct of the exam.

While many demand a thorough inquiry in the allegations of the paper leak, considerable others think the re-test option given to 1,563 students is a mere "eyewash".

"The inflation in marks is too much to be offset by a selective retest of 1,563 students. I think revaluation of marks of each student will be a good thing, otherwise a universal retest, but then the government must give us one to two months to prepare," Aheli Ghosh Hazra, a National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) aspirant from West Bengal, told PTI.

 

On the conduct of NEET this year, she said, "You cannot fix a sick tree by just taking a sick leaf out of it. The whole tree must be uprooted. We have no clue to what extent the rigging took place."

Another aspirant from Madhya Pradesh said things look "fairly unjust" from his point of view.

"They just want to get it over with. They also want to hide the paper leak scam," Animesh, a NEET aspirant from Madhya Pradesh, said.

"Things are not very clear… I think the matter should be probed by a third party which is not biased towards the NTA," he added.

Animesh demanded a retest for all candidates.

"Only those with scores above 650 would have an issue with a retest. There must be a retest, but they must give some more time to students. Everyone is out of momentum. Everyone is bogged down by media reports. Logistically, it won't be feasible for the NTA too to conduct retest in a short time," he said.

Tejas Gaur of Delhi, who cleared the NEET exam, said he would retake the exam, if it is conducted again.

"I do not think the scam is limited to 1,563 students. The number is too low to have caused such an inflation in the marks," Tejas, who got 4,627th rank, said.

The NEET-UG examination is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.

The examination was held on May 5 across 4,750 centres and around 24 lakh candidates appeared for it. Its results were expected to be declared on June 14 but were announced on June 4, apparently because the evaluation of the answer sheets was completed earlier.

In the wake of the controversy, the Union Education Ministry has set up a four-member expert panel headed by a former UPSC chairman to review the grace marks.

A retest of 1,563 students who received the grace marks will be held on June 23. The results of the retest are scheduled to be announced on June 30.

Kapil Gupta, the founder NEETPrep.com, said the students who scored well run the risk of scoring less in the retest as they have post-exam inertia, and considering the controversy, even two months would be less for them to prepare again properly.

"Matters have come to a head and reached the Supreme Court…The second challenge is no less. We have decided to get students to get 'hot' and exam ready. Post exam, most have gone cold and might be rusty. As a result, almost certainly, most will see a drop in their marks even if they are given two months to get ready," Gupta told PTI.

The IIT-Delhi alumnus, who claims to have 2 lakh students onboard for NEET preparations and had four perfect scorers in the latest exam, asked students to get into practice mode right away.

"We have provided one month access to NEET aspirants on our platform and have provided them guidance on how to shrug off post-exam inertia. Easier said than done. Students who scored well in NEET 2024 run the biggest risk now if re-NEET happens," he said.

Major General Ramesh Raina (retd), who served as the Managing Director of Army Welfare Education Society – overseeing all army schools – for four years from 2019 to 2023, said, "The recent case of the alleged leak in the NEET examination is very unfortunate… I empathise with the children and the parents,"

He said the NTA's "unblemished past" has been marred by "unscrupulous elements" who leveraged the loopholes in the system.

"The magnitude of such leakage needs to be assessed. While the case is sub judice, it is hoped and prayed that the faith in the testing agency is restored through corrective measures, including holding concerned officials accountable," Gen Raina said.

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought responses from the Centre, the NTA and others on petitions, including those seeking scrapping of NEET-UG 2024 exam and a court-monitored probe into the alleged irregularities in the medical entrance test.

The apex court also stayed further proceedings on some pleas concerning the NEET-UG 2024 exam which are pending before different high courts across the country.

However, during the hearing, the bench made clear that it was not staying the counselling process.

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Vishal Narayan
Source: PTI© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.