Sameer Phale, who prepares students for NEET, said this uncertainty is increasing anxiety for everyone. “We were teaching the full syllabus and all the while wondering if there will be a cut in syllabus, meaning precious teaching hours will have got used up. For the board exams, we have prepared students for the slashed syllabus,” said Phale.
Panini Telang, a coaching institute owner, said it is surprising that no clarity has come from the authorities. “All of this builds up pressure on students. Authorities must clarify and communicate whatever is their final decision. It’s a question of lakhs of students across the country,” said Telang.
For NEET, the two main stakeholders are the National Testing Agency (NTA) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The syllabus is finalized by the MoHFW through an independent body. Earlier it used to be the Medical Council of India, but now that has been dissolved and hence the task falls upon the National Medical Commission (NMC).
After NMC approves the syllabus, NTA takes over as the exam conducting body. The latter’s role is restricted to conducting the exam, evaluating it, and declaring results.
The problem is compounded by a ban on physical classes for coaching institutes. Due to this, it is taking more time to complete the course, as online classes are dependent on connectivity and access by students. Jagdish Agrawal, a coaching institute owner, said, “The quality of learning that one can get in a physical class set up can never be compared to online mode of teaching.”
Virag Mitkari, a coaching institute owner, said, “There is no reason for the government to keep our institutes closed. In restaurants and bars, people have to remove their masks to eat, thus adding to the risk factor. In our classrooms, there is no need to remove the mask due to which safety level is always maintained.”