Why pass an entrance exam, simply pay to become a doctor

Every child in India is brainwashed by parents, and forced to opt only for professional courses in medicine and engineering after grade 12.

By Moni Mathews

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Published: Tue 17 May 2016, 10:55 PM

When practically any issue of importance has to be dealt with by the courts to move forward in India, the Supreme Court's order to reinstate the one-window process for the National Eligibility and Entrance Test to undergraduate medical courses comes as a relief to many candidates.
It will help aspiring students and parents, including many based in the Gulf region. All these years parents had to accompany their wards to 10 or more centres in India to appear for the objective-style entrance tests of state and private institutes.
Private institutions and state government colleges were quick as usual to line up with their counter petitions in the Supreme Court after the order to abolish institution-based selection procedures was passed. Last month, the apex court dealt the final blow when it categorically said a big 'no' to separate tests and selection procedures for the quota of seats under the 'pure merit' category.
But aspirants who appeared for the state run Kerala Engineering, Agricultural, Medicine tests in April this year, including many from the Gulf region a fortnight ago, were unfortunately made to look like fools by the late decision on the part of the government to seek the SC's intervention again. However, students who did not appear for the May 1, 2016, All India Pre-Medical / Pre-Dental Entrance Examination have been given a second chance to appear for a special National Eligibility and Entrance Test in July.
But the Kerala Engineering, Agricultural, Medicine exam has a befuddling rule defining what 'native' means during the application process, something which other states in India do not have a problem with as long as one holds Indian citizenship. This test stipulates that irrespective of the domicile element, the candidate or at least one of the two parents should have been born in the state. They give no alternative to the candidate or the parents to prove that they have studied and lived in the state. In short, a person born outside but has lived in the state for all/rest of his/her life is not eligible!
A research-oriented and quality private institution like the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, takes pride in its own assessments for admission. The National Eligibility and Entrance Test should categorise institutions based on quality and reputation. AIIMS, JIPMER, AFMC and CMC, Vellore, are given the usual top-tier grading when the time comes to allot seats. As things stand today, only CMC, Vellore (for its 14 seats in the open all-India merit list), and government-run institutions absorb students on sheer merit.
CMC, Vellore, which surprisingly has been denied full autonomy and university status for the past many years, has an annual tuition fees of an astonishingly low Rs23,000 per annum now (the remaining cost is subsidised by the institution).
Every child in India is brainwashed by parents, and forced to opt only for professional courses in medicine and engineering after grade 12.
It has become a farce because one can purchase seats at education fairs and through agents. Private medical colleges charge as much as Rs5-8 million for a medical seat and more than Rs10 million for a three-year post graduate specialisation. Super specialisation rates are even higher. What happens at the end of the road is that even students with 50 and 40 per cent marks join the mainstream of medical and engineering professions because they can afford it. The obsession to make a child a doctor or an engineer has brought standards to an alarmingly low level in India. Aptitude and merit hold no place in this scenario, and can you imagine these 'docs' diagnosing diseases and working on your course of treatment?

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