Students, teachers still not ready for NEET

Syllabus for II PU way behind National Curriculum Framework

Students and teachers in the State are worried about their “lack of readiness” for the national entrance test for admission to medical, dental, and engineering courses next year. The State government, however, says there is no cause for concern.

From 2013 onwards, those aspiring to study professional courses in government or private colleges will have to write just one entrance examination, instead of the many they do at present. Medical/dental aspirants will write the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and engineering hopefuls the Common Entrance Test (CET).

The move towards a single pan-India exam has been widely appreciated across the country but students and teachers in Karnataka feel they are not prepared enough as the syllabus for II pre-university course (PUC) is way behind the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), the basis for the All India exam.

Until now, the State government had dragged its feet over the pan-India test, saying it would be ready for it only by 2014. It had cited the deficiency in its pre-university syllabus which differs by about 20 percent from the NCF.

The Department of Pre-University Education (DPUE) adopted the NCF for I PUC science only from the 2012-13 academic year, making it clear that II PUC students will be ready for the single entrance exam only in 2014. Everything seemed in order until Minister for Medical Education, S A Ramdas, dropped the ‘bomb shell’ on Wednesday that there would be no more state-level Common Entrance Test (CET) in 2013.

Ramdas also said that students will have to write the single pan-India test for medical/dental and engineering/architecture courses next year. The announcement took the students and teachers by surprise.

Siddaiah, Principal Secretary, Higher Education, said that the government was unlikely to oppose the national exam. “We are quite prepared. We are taking measures to ensure a level-playing field,” he told Deccan Herald.

Rashmi V Mahesh, Commissioner, DPUE, said, “It is our responsibility to ensure that students are not at a disadvantage. And we’ll do it.” A team of DPUE officials will liaise with the CBSE officials in Delhi later in June and identify the difference between the two syllabi.

Thereafter, study materials will be prepared and capacity-building programmes launched in August. “There is no need to panic,” Rashmi added.

Colleges not convinced

But colleges do not seem convinced. Classes for II PUC have begun in most colleges but the lack of clarity on the single entrance exam has confused the stakeholders. Some colleges have already planned extra classes exclusively for the single entrance exam, but many others remain clueless.

Questions on the seat matrix, quota for local students and fees under the national entrance test disturb them. Colleges say they are not better informed and hence unable to explain to parents and students. “We want a clear picture. Teachers are also not properly equipped,” Jayashree N, Principal, RV PU College, said, suggesting that a committee involving all stakeholders be formed to discuss the issue threadbare.

She adds that students feel the national entrance test would spoil their prospects. If there are multiple exams, students not doing well in one of them can fall back on the other. But in a single exam, they either get it right once or miss the opportunity, Jayashree said.

Some colleges, however, have begun preparing for the national exam, anticipating the changes. “We have planned for at least two hours of extra classes everyday or 10 hours a week, exclusively for the entrance exam,” Rashmi Kitturmath, Principal, SJR PU College, said.

Teachers argue that the local tutorials that have sprung up exclusively for CET may not cope with the national exam. Bharat Inamdar, Principal of Jindal PU College, added another dimension to the debate.

The Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system introduced for I PU might be deterrent for students for the national-level entrance exam. “It is a paradox. Students will have it easy in the first year and will not be able to face the pressure when they need the strength the most.”

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