Neet: Ensure uniform education

Ensure uniform education

With reference to the editorial, “The NEET problem” (September 5), that schools follow the state board syllabus and its students then have to take an eligibility/entrance test based on the CBSE syllabus goes against the principle of natural justice.

Obviously, students with “inherited privileges”, who studied in schools following the CBSE syllabus, have an advantage in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test over those without such privileges and studying in schools following the state board syllabus.

The central government cannot justify its insistence on a uniform entrance examination without putting in place a uniform education system for 
all students.

Schools across the country should have the same syllabus — it is hard to interpolate Hindutva into science textbooks — equal facilities and teachers of the same calibre. 

Expenses for running the schools (of the same standard) should be borne by the government. 

NEET is an instrument to enable “elitist” students to get admitted into medical colleges in disproportionate numbers. It forecloses the doors to medical colleges for poor students from humble backgrounds.

A student who got 1,176 marks out of 1,200, with 100 per cent in the core subjects in the state board examinations, cannot be said to be less qualified than a student, who cleared NEET, to get admitted into a medical college.

Dalit student Anitha would have made a great doctor, were she given an opportunity. That was not to be. The central government refused to accede to the request of the Tamil Nadu government to exempt the state from NEET. This led to Anitha’s life being snuffed out and the pretension of the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre to ensure social justice and cooperative federalism being exposed.

G David Milton, Maruthancode

Task ahead for Prabhu

The editorial, “A formidable agenda” (September 5), highlights the tasks before new Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu (pictured). No doubt, his role is significant at a time when exporters are facing post-goods and services tax hurdles, declining exports, an appreciating rupee and trade imbalance with several countries.

A recent NITI Aayog report suggests inter-alia import substitutions as one of the measures to curtail under-employment in the country. The suggestion is timely and should be taken into consideration. Import substitution plays a pivotal role in creating jobs and minimising foreign exchange outgo on various goods and services. 

The government directive to all departments to identify high-volume imports from China is the right step to change the open general licence policy with that country; this kind of study is needed also for those countries with which India has free trade agreements — be it China, South Korea, Thailand or the Philippines.

Prabhu has an opportunity to push import substitution policies, especially when his ministry is undertaking a mid-term review of Foreign Trade Policy (FTP). All FTP provisions should be fine-tuned, with an emphasis on import substitution and exports. 

Prabhu should also focus on pruning the list of prohibitive export items and put in place sustainable and inclusive trade policies with ASEAN countries, as most of them are facing protectionist policies from developed nations. 

The role of Export Promotion Councils and commodity boards should be redefined; they should be made more responsible and accountable to avail of Market Development Assistance from the commerce ministry. 

Exporters, importers and all other stake holders are hoping for a pragmatic and effective mid-term FTP. Prabhu could revise Make in India as “Make in India for Exports” through enabling provisions in the FTP besides ensuring ease of doing business in the country.

A Sathyanarayana, New Delhi 

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