NEET UG 2024: 67 PERFECT SCORES AND 1,563 STUDENTS GOT GRACE MARKS THAT FUEL THE CONTROVERSY

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Introduction

The NEET exam (National Eligibility Entrance Test) is a national-level entrance examination in India. It is conducted for students who wish to pursue undergraduate medical (MBBS), dental (BDS), and other related courses in government or private medical colleges in India. It’s an important exam for aspiring medical professionals in India.

In the wake of allegations of paper leaks and malpractices surrounding the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-Undergraduate 2024 (NEET-UG 2024), the Supreme Court of India has been thrust into the spotlight. 

On Thursday, the vacation bench comprising Justice Vikram Nath and Justice SVN Bhatti refused to stay in the counseling of NEET-UG 2024 despite hearing fresh petitions regarding the ongoing controversy. This incident underscores a growing concern in India: the integrity of competitive examinations.

The NEET-UG 2024 Controversy

The NEET-UG 2024, conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on May 5, 2024, saw over 24 lakh candidates appearing for the exam at 4750 centers in 571 cities worldwide. The results were declared on June 4, 2024. However, grievances regarding time loss during the exam led to the formation of a High Powered Committee to examine the issue of compensatory marks for 1563 affected candidates.

Based on the committee’s recommendations, the NTA decided to reconduct the NEET-UG 2024 for these candidates on June 23, 2024. The re-examination is specifically for those awarded compensatory marks, with fresh scorecards to be issued post-examination.

Challenges Faced During Conduction of NEET(UG) Exam

Legal Challenges: Since its inception, NEET has faced legal challenges and uncertainties regarding its implementation. There were concerns about its impact on state-level examinations and the autonomy of institutions.

Changes in Eligibility Criteria: Over the years, there have been adjustments in the eligibility criteria regarding age limits, attempts allowed, and qualifying marks.

Exam Pattern: The exam pattern has seen modifications, including changes in the number of questions, duration of the exam, and inclusion of new topics or exclusion of certain topics from the syllabus.

Language Controversies: There have been controversies related to the availability of the exam in different languages and the difficulty level across different language papers.

Role of NTA: In 2019, the National Testing Agency (NTA) took over the responsibility of conducting NEET from CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), which was previously responsible for organizing the exam.

COVID-19 Impact: The COVID-19 pandemic led to significant changes in the conduct of NEET, including rescheduling exams and adjusting exam centers to ensure safety protocols.

Evolution of Counseling Process: The counseling process for NEET has evolved over the years, with changes in the allocation of seats, reservation policies, and the introduction of centralized counseling for all India quota seats.

Understanding the Post-Declaration of NEET (UG) – 2024 Results

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is a significant examination for aspiring medical students in India. The National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts NEET (UG) to facilitate admissions into various undergraduate medical and allied courses. Here, we comprehensively explain the frequently asked questions and responses provided by the NTA after the declaration of NEET (UG) – 2024 results.

Highlights and Participation

This year saw a significant increase in participation, with 24,06,079 candidates registering, of which 23,33,297 appeared for the examination. The candidates included 10,29,198 males, 13,76,863 females, and 18 from the third gender. The participants came from diverse backgrounds, including Unreserved, SC, ST, OBC, and Gen-EWS categories.

Increase in Registrations

There was a notable increase in registrations compared to the previous year, with a 16.85% overall increase. Specifically, male registrations increased by 15.71%, and female registrations increased by 17.84%. The increase was observed across all categories, with the highest increase in Gen-EWS at 24.34%.

Answer Key Challenges and Final Answer Keys

Candidates were allowed to challenge the provisional Answer Keys from May 29, 2024, to June 1, 2024. The final Answer Keys were then published on June 3, 2024. Candidates could also view their scanned OMR Answer Sheets during this period.

Compensatory Marks for Time Loss

A Grievance Redressal Committee reviewed issues of time loss during the examination. According to a mechanism established by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, candidates who faced time loss were compensated with marks based on their answering efficiency and the time lost. In total, 1563 candidates received compensatory marks.

Variation in Cut-offs

The cut-offs for NEET (UG) vary each year based on overall candidate performance, changes in syllabus, difficulty level, and the number of aspirants. This year, factors like the revised syllabus and increased participation contributed to the variation in cut-offs.

The NTA ensures the authenticity of high scores through stringent security measures, including biometric verification, CCTV monitoring, and thorough frisking. This year saw 44 candidates scoring a perfect 720/720.

In cases of tie-breaking, the inter-se-merit of candidates is determined by higher marks in Biology, followed by Chemistry, then Physics, fewer incorrect answers, and finally in ascending order of Application Number.

Physics Wallah’s Battle with the NTA

In a bold move, Alakh Pandey, founder and CEO of the Ed-tech firm Physics Wallah, has taken the National Testing Agency (NTA) to the Supreme Court over allegations of arbitrary grace marks awarded to students in the NEET UG 2024 examination. This action underscores the growing concerns over the integrity of one of India’s most significant entrance exams for medical aspirants.

Allegations of Arbitrary Grace Marks

Pandey’s primary contention lies in what he describes as the “random awarding of grace marks” to at least 1,500 students. He claims that his team has collected signatures from around 20,000 students, highlighting discrepancies where some students reportedly received an additional 70 to 80 marks. The lack of transparency from the NTA regarding the formula used for these grace marks has been a focal point of Pandey’s criticism.

Supreme Court Involvement

The Supreme Court is set to hear this matter today, June 12. Pandey’s legal representative, Advocate J Sai Deepak, has emphasized that their petition is distinct, focusing specifically on the alleged arbitrary awarding of grace marks. The petition calls for a thorough investigation by an independent high-powered committee to scrutinize the NEET UG 2024 examination process.

Previous Court Action

This recent development follows a separate petition filed on June 1, before the declaration of NEET UG results on June 4. This earlier petition, which the Supreme Court addressed on June 11, sought to cancel the NEET-UG 2024 results amid allegations of a paper leak. Although the Court issued a notice to the Centre and NTA, it declined to halt the ongoing counseling process, scheduling the next hearing for July 8.

Concerns Over Examination Integrity

The controversy intensified after the announcement of the NEET UG 2024 results, which saw 67 students achieving perfect scores of 720. Particularly alarming was the revelation that six of these top scorers were from the same examination center, prompting further suspicion and allegations of irregularities.

Calls for Transparency and Accountability

Pandey has vocally demanded full disclosure and transparency from the NTA. He argues that the integrity of the NEET UG 2024 examination has been compromised, necessitating a comprehensive investigation. The Ed-tech entrepreneur has petitioned the Supreme Court to consider re-conducting the exam if the investigation substantiates the alleged discrepancies and procedural lapses.

Student Distress and Uncertainty

The core of Pandey’s argument rests on the significant distress and uncertainty faced by students. If proven true, the arbitrary awarding of grace marks could potentially undermine the merit-based admission system, affecting the futures of thousands of aspiring medical students.

Moving Forward

The legal battle spearheaded by Physics Wallah is a critical juncture for the NEET UG examination system. As the Supreme Court deliberates on the issues raised, the focus will be on ensuring transparency, fairness, and the upholding of examination integrity. The outcome of this case could have far-reaching implications for the administration of competitive exams in India, reinforcing the need for rigorous standards and accountability in the evaluation process.

Conclusion

The NEET UG 2024 exam has recently been in controversy for a while, with allegations of paper leaks, arbitrary grace marks, and concerns over irregularities. The legal battle undertaken by Physics Wallah highlights the need for transparency and accountability in the examination process. The Supreme Court’s decision will be crucial in restoring faith in the legal and educational system and providing justice to lakhs of students. 

-ABHINASH & ANANYA

MUST READ:- NOT SO NEAT: NEET 2024 RESULTS CONTROVERSY

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