NOT SO NEAT: NEET 2024 RESULTS CONTROVERSY

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NEET

Introduction 

The NEET 2024 results released on June 4 caused an uproar in the country as candidates were disappointed by the published result, leading to protests across the country and the filing of cases in the court against NTA. With 67 candidates scoring 720/720 this year, a huge jump from 2 candidates scoring the perfect score in the previous edition of NEET has raised doubts and questions against the National Testing Agency.

Mental Pressure on Students due to Entrance exams 

The tight competition to get a seat in the topmost institutes of India can be quite stressful. Preparation for entrance exams like NEET and JEE often puts mental stress on a student’s mind. Expectations from parents and society and sometimes the pressure to become a doctor or engineer by the student’s family are some of the main reasons for the mental pressure. 

Such mental pressure often leads to students suffering from anxiety and going into depression. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to students taking the wrong step – taking their lives by suicide. Some of the main reasons for the same are as follows:

  • Tough Competition: A high number of applications but a low number of seats in the institutes lead to tough competition, pushing the students to perform the best among all.
  • Self Pressure: The students impose pressure on themselves to perform well due to reasons such as self-expectations, fear of failure and desire to make parents happy.
  • Media influence: Media often portrays the exam toppers as successful and intelligent students, leading to feelings of self-doubt among the students who didn’t perform well.

Tips for the students to reduce mental stress

Here are some tips for students to cope with their mental stress:

  • Take regular breaks: Students should take regular breaks while studying as it helps them stay focused and avoids burnout.
  • Be Organised: Creating a proper study schedule and sticking to it can reduce stress. The location chosen for study should be quiet so that there are no interruptions while studying.
  • Proper sleep: Students must sleep eight hours to maintain proper physical and mental health.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise helps in improving the mood and reducing stress.
  • Healthy diet: a proper, healthy diet gives energy to study for longer duration as well as reduces stress. Processed foods and excessive caffeine should be avoided.
  • Seek help: If the student feels overwhelmed with all the stress, pressure and anxiety, seek help from others. Talk to someone trustworthy like parents, teachers and close friends about your feelings as it helps to cope with the stress.

Allegations and Issues

Paper Leak and Bribery

Days before the NEET exam, a foreign education consultant and a school teacher were accused of accepting bribes from students to facilitate fraudulent passing of the exam.

Results Discrepancies

Concerns arose when many candidates achieved perfect scores in NEET, with 67 students scoring 720/720, many from the same examination centres. This was coupled with unusual scoring patterns, such as many candidates receiving marks of 718 or 719 due to compensatory grace marks.

Timing and Media Attention

 The NEET results were released earlier than scheduled, coinciding with the Lok Sabha elections, which diverted media attention from the issue.

High Court and Supreme Court Interventions

Various High Courts, including those of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Chhattisgarh, received petitions regarding the loss of exam time and alleged malpractices in NEET, prompting the formation of a Grievance Redressal Committee by the NTA. The Supreme Court has also issued notices and is demanding answers from the NTA, with a plea to cancel the exams currently under review.

Political and Social Reactions

Political leaders have voiced strong criticism. Congress leaders like Jairam Ramesh and Priyanka Gandhi have condemned the alleged NEET scam, emphasising the need for a high-level investigation under the supervision of the Supreme Court. They highlighted the emotional and psychological toll on students, some of whom have reportedly died by suicide following the announcement of the controversial NEET results.

NTA’s Response to the Controversy

In light of the allegations, the NTA has maintained transparency by publishing detailed FAQs addressing various concerns. Here are some key points from the NTA FAQs:

  • Conduct and Results: The NEET 2024 was conducted smoothly with comprehensive measures in place to prevent cheating and ensure fairness.
  • Answer Key Challenges: The NTA provided a transparent system for challenging the provisional answer keys, which led to necessary revisions.
  • Compensatory Marks: A structured mechanism was in place to award compensatory marks, ensuring affected candidates were fairly compensated for their loss of time.

Press Release Insights

A press release issued by the NTA on June 6, 2024, provided further clarifications:

Cut-off Scores

The cutoff scores are determined based on the overall performance of candidates each year, reflecting the competitive nature of the examination and higher performance standards achieved in 2024. The minimum score to qualify NEET in the UR category this year was 164, significantly higher than in previous years.

Compensatory Marks for Loss of Time

A Grievance Redressal Committee considered factual reports and CCTV footage to ascertain the loss of exam time and awarded compensatory marks accordingly. The scores of affected candidates varied significantly, with some achieving scores as high as 718 and 719 due to these adjustments.

Toppers and High Scores 

The number of high scorers increased due to the larger pool of candidates and specific adjustments in the answer key. The increase in candidates led to a natural rise in high scorers, with several candidates achieving perfect scores due to these adjustments.

Unfair Means Cases

The NTA has taken action against cases of impersonation and other unfair means, including cancellation of candidature and debarment from future exams. The NTA maintains that there was no paper leak, and the integrity of the exam was upheld.

Conclusion 

After studying hard the whole year for the NEET exam, the students feel that their hard work has gone in vain, with some students going into depression and taking their lives. Hence, the discrepancies in the result must be resolved as soon as possible and the NTA must answer the allegations regarding the result, otherwise, the students might lose faith in their capabilities and such an incident will be regarded as a failure of the country’s education system.

-SHIVANGI & ABHINASH

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