BHUBANESWAR: National eligibility cum entrance test (NEET) replacing state-level entrance examinations for admission into undergraduate medical courses will not ease the burden of multiple tests for medical aspirants in Orissa. They will still have to appear for theOrissa joint entrance examination (OJEE) for admission into pharmacy, Ayurveda and homeopathic courses.
"NEET is for MBBS and BDS courses. OJEE will still be held for pharmacy, Ayurveda and homeopathic courses," said OJEE vice-chairman Dr Sitaram Mahapatra.
This entails an additional burden for some students. "I am preparing for MBBS. But in worst case, if I fail to get through MBBS, I want to join pharmacy or Ayurveda. So now, I have to prepare for OJEE and NEET simultaneously with completely different patterns," said Ajay Lenka, a student. Orissa has around 960 B Pharma seats.
While NEET is tentatively scheduled for May 13, dates for OJEE will be announced soon, Dr Mahapatra said. Some of the states, such as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are against the national level overarching test, but Orissa toed the Central line after "its concerns were addressed".
"Earlier, we feared our seats would go to candidates of other states if sufficient number of students from Orissa failed to qualify the test. But the MCI assured that a percentile system will be worked out so that sufficient number of students from each state makes it to their respective state merit list," said Dr Mahapatra, adding that the state has no problem with the pan-India test.
Dr Mahapatra, who is also the joint director of medical education and training, said one bonus for Orissa may be the two years commitment of serving in rural areas of the state by all those taking admissions in state medical colleges. So far, only 85% candidates in Orissa JEE merit list make a commitment to serve in rural areas of the state for two years. There is no such norm for 15% candidates drawn from AIPMT for the all-India quota of seats. "Now since all students will be drawn from the same entrance examination of NEET, there can't be separate set of rules. We have conveyed to the Centre to have a clause of admission where all students have to commit for two years rural posting in the state," he said.
Meanwhile, Medical Council of India has uploaded core syllabus of physics, chemistry, botany and zoology for NEET on its website www.mciindia.org. Indicating stricter enforcement of norms, MCI has decided to debar any candidate found indulging in any malpractice during the entrance exams from appearing in NEET for life.