Saturday, April 17, 2004
THE recent AIPMT paper leak has brought into focus the malady that afflicts entrance tests for various courses in the country. This is not the first time this has happened. This seems to be just the tip of the iceberg.
On pondering over the
ramifications of such leaks, it is easy to lose faith in the whole
system. It is not merely the inconvenience of a rescheduled test or the
monetary aspect of it that troubles the candidates. The parents find it
difficult to coax their wards to prepare again for this or that test
when they themselves are not convinced of the fairness and inviolate
nature of the entrance tests.
The trauma to the 2.5 lakh candidates is the last thing on the mind of both the HRD Minister and the CBSE Chairman. To say the least, it was a simplistic solution to calmly proclaim that a new date will be announced soon. They are lucky that our system of justice is not litigant-compensation friendly. To shed some light on the sorry situation, they need to be reminded that each MBBS/BDS aspirant applies for 20-25 entrance tests and actually appears for 15-20 of them. If the same 2.5 lakh candidates have to appear for various PMTs, why have so many of them? Globally, efforts are on to make assessment standardised and fair, but in our country, a single centralised PMT canít be held with its ranking honoured by every state/medical college. The PMT can be held on the lines of CAT. This will not only save time and paper work but also reduce stress caused to candidates, who have to commute to different centres.
At present, besides the AIPMT, institutions like AIIMS, BHU, AMU and JIPMER hold their own PMTs. Recently, the unaided private colleges have also joined the race with colleges in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan and formed their own groups. But that does not end the agony of the students. A number of colleges do not join these groups and want to hold their own test, like the DY Patil University in Pune. The prospectus for each of these costs Rs 300 to Rs 600, while the examination fee is another Rs 1000. Is the HRD Ministry or the Medical Council of India aware of all this? Last year, the Supreme Court had allowed private unaided medical colleges to fix their own fees that ranges from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh per year. The Centre claims credit for reducing the IIM fees from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 30,000. The number of MBBS seats in private unaided colleges is many times more than the IIM seats, but there seems to be little or no concern shown in this case. Most of these colleges are run by trusts floated by politicians, making redressal difficult.
In the interests of students, there should be a single centralised entrance test conducted by an independent body, which should ensure safeguards against all possible loopholes and leaks.
The writer is Additional
Professor, Department of Gastroenterology, PGIMER, Chandigarh