The Medical Council of India (MCI) has barred students who have completed class 12 examination through open and distance mode from appearing in NEET UG citing lack of practical knowledge. The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) under the human resource development (HRD) ministry said the decision will deprive thousands of students the opportunity to pursue medical education. HRD minister Prakash Javadekar and Union health minister JP Nadda was to hold a meeting on Wednesday 17th January to take a call on the issue. More than 2 lakh students register every year with NIOS and close to 3,000 had registered for NEET exam in 2017, the official said. “Across India, the number would be higher. Out of 3,000 NIOS students, 864 qualified the test too. So it is unfair to bar them,” said a senior official.

In a letter to NIOS, the Medical Council of India (MCI) said they had examined the proposal to allow these students to take the test. However, it pointed out that NIOS students would not be on par with those from the regular mode. “…they would be ineligible for NEET on an equitable basis,” reads the letter sent in 2017.

NIOS officials claimed that in the past, MCI board of governors had said if the required criteria of graduate medical education regulation is fulfilled by students appearing in 10+2 exams by the NIOS, they would be eligible for MBBS admission. “It was proposed by the MCI,” said a health ministry official.

NIOS officials said their syllabus was more rigorous and students are examined on the syllabus for class XI and XII, whereas other boards examine learners just on class XII syllabus.

“We can’t equate regular students with those who complete class 12 from correspondence as the latter don’t get practical lessons,” said a member of the MCI, justifying the rationale for the Council’s decision.

Medical Reporter

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