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Weekly Digest #123

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In this digest-


1. Article-  NEET and Tidy?


2. Happiness Quotient From Around The World


3. Did You Know?


4. Entertainment Quotient 







                                                        -Cover Story-

NEET and tidy?

By: Abhimanyu Rao 

Shout out from the rooftops, it is true! After a long break in the latter half of our final school year, we are back, and we have missed a lot, haven’t we! Most recently, the political plot twist that was the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, the ones every exit poll got wrong! But another crisis has been brewing, and I felt that I had observed enough of it to write about it. I am, of course, talking about the NEET Scandal. To understand the scandal, you will first need to understand more about the NEET itself.


What is the NEET?

NEET stands for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test is a national examination that is conducted to gain admission into medical colleges in India. It is supposed to test an examinee’s grasp of all three primary factions of the sciences, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Each correct answer is awarded 4 marks, and each incorrect answer leads to a single negative mark. This means the highest possible marks possible is 720, and the lowest is -180. The exam is considered extremely competitive, leading to very few students achieving the maximum possible score. That is, until this year…


What Happened?

This year, the results were released days before the official release date, sparking intrigue. This spark grew into a fire when the scores themselves were revealed. For the first time in history, 67 people achieved a perfect score! The previous year, two students had shared the All India Rank (AIR) 1, achieving a perfect score, and this year, 67 had. 


To add to the conundrum, AIIMS Delhi, India’s top medical college, has only 56 seats. This meant that even people who achieved a perfect score did not have a guaranteed admission into a college of their choice. Imagine two years of tireless work, seeing your scorecard and feeling a sense of accomplishment at achieving a perfect score, only to be thrown into limbo once again. 


The public furiously questioned the National Testing Agency (NTA) on these shocking results, and the answers they received were vague. They were told that some exam centres had experienced delays, and to compensate for the lost time, grace marks were awarded, using a formula cleared by the Supreme Court in 2018 for the CLAT Examination. There were a few flaws with this answer, firstly, the formula had never been mentioned with regard to NEET procedure, and was never explained to students prior to the examination. 


Secondly, the formula had been designed with the CLAT exam in mind, not NEET, and the scoring systems for both exams differed. 

Thirdly, this still did not fully explain the sharp increase in the number of students with a perfect score. This trend was seen at all scores, and led to performances that would otherwise be considered great to be considered average at best, leading to even more confusion and turmoil for students. 


While there has been a lot of back-and-forth between the Supreme Court, the public, and the NTA since then, there is still no clear explanation to this unexpected turn of events. While I could take you through how the event is unfolding as we speak, I would like to divert your attention to what I see as the “big picture” implications of this scandal, and how it can help guide the future of admissions in India. 


Speaking to Avikal Aggarwal, a 2024 NEET candidate, I learned more about how this delay affected individual students. “In my opinion, the potential use of unfair means and many rumoured irregularities have caused unnecessary and stressful delays in counselling.”, highlighting the broad issues caused by this conundrum. Discussing his personal experience, he said, “the lack of transparency and the never ending uncertainty has caused me and many others a lot of stress regarding the examination, result and many other possible scenarios.”. It is clear that the NTA’s inability to provide clarity has caused unnecessary stress in students, and must not reoccur.


The Way I See It- 

This chaos opened my eyes to the shocking reality of competitive examinations. A single test could determine the rest of your life, and that is a terrifying proposition! The implications of a few hours of your life appear far greater than all the time after it, and I see a major issue with the status quo.


It places too much importance on a single day, one that could go in an infinite number of ways. You could wake up with a cold or a headache, or even just be having a bad day, and because of that, your entire future could change. Even worse, the one day in a year when your future is decided, factors outside you control cause a commotion and leave you in uncertainty, as it happened with the 2024 students. The way I see it, the extent of the chaos created stems from the value that this single examination on a single day possesses. 


By creating an admissions system with only one assessment of a person’s capabilities, the risks increase tenfold. While it appears to provide an objective assessment of a person’s skills, its singular nature makes any procedural challenges have a massive impact. 


Since the NEET is the only measure of a student’s capabilities, a procedural error in its organisation could prove catastrophic for students and administrators alike. And this issue is not exclusive to NEET, it is a problem with all competitive exams.

A scenario that supports my assertion is a laboratory experiment. To be considered thorough, experiment trials are repeated multiple times to rule out any random error that arose due to factors outside their control. Should students not be given the same courtesy? The NEET itself is a trial, and the possibility of random error would greatly decrease if it becomes part of a multi-step admissions assessment.


The chaos of the NEET results could have been significantly decreased if it was not a singular exam but rather part of a multi-step examination process. It could include more than just a single examination paper, possibly including practical examinations, interviews, and the like. I do not consider myself qualified enough to suggest an alternate admissions process, but I would encourage the Government of India and the National Testing Agency to consider revising their approach to admitting students. 


By decreasing the weightage of a single day, and allowing students the room for some random error of their own, not only will students feel less pressure for a single examination, but chaos like the one we are witnessing this year will be prevented. Therefore, it is my belief that the weightage of  NEET and other such competitive exams should be reevaluated, keeping the interests of both all stakeholders in mind.



                                                                    -------------


By: Agastya  Rao 



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By: Mihir  Rao





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Entertainment quotient for the week:



Disney+Hotstar


Star Wars - The Acolyte: A new thriller from our favourite Galaxy Far Far Away!

       

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