Mumbai: Capping of age for undergraduate medical entry is denying opportunity for those who come from rural backgrounds and others who wake up late to their passions in life. This is the conclusion one drew from the large canvass of aspirants one traversed to get their opinion on the MCI’s decision on age capping. The supreme Court has of late scrapped the age cap imposed on NEET earlier.
For many age is no criterion at all. NEET 2016 saw a 100 aspirants between 41-60 appearing for it. Two people with ages between 61-70, registered for the NEET-MBBS and BDS admissions last year. The exam being a difficult exercise, doesn’t seem to deter them from giving it a try. The trauma of disqualification also doesn’t seem to bog down many, at the age that they are. The lifting of the age cap by the Supreme Court has had 20,000 of them in line for the NEET test as per a recent report in TOI ; all aspiring to pursue an unrealized passion.
A US based software engineer from the University of Houston, Texas is aspiring to enter a medical college this year. “Lately, I have been trying to discover my passion and found that being a doctor does it for me. I am not sure if I will get selected, but I wish to try my level best. We were busy with the court case for almost two months. Now I wish to fully concentrate on my studies,” said the engineer, who is keen on getting an NRI seat, in a Madhya Pradesh college.
A software engineer in the US, who completed his MS from the University of Houston, Texas, is an aspirant this year. The 31-year-old NRI candidate told TOI: “Lately, I have been trying to discover my passion and found that being a doctor does it for me. I am not sure, if I will get selected, but I wish to try my level best. We were busy with the court case for almost two months. Now I wish to fully concentrate on my studies,” said the engineer, who is keen on getting an NRI seat in a Madhya Pradesh college.
K D Chavan, Registrar, Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), said some of the candidates aged 30 and above want to pursue medicine as they are not happy with their current choice of profession. “I know of a friend who enrolled for CET at the age of 34 and is now an established pathologist,” he said.
Dean, KEM Hospital, Dr Avinash Supe, said, “There are a few candidates who pursue super-specialty after a break. Very rarely we find people above the age of 30 in undergraduate programms as it is difficult to cope with the syllabus. Some of these candidates may not be successful in other professions, some intend to follow their passion, and some marry early and then pursue a career in medicine.”
Speaking of rural backgrounds, Sabyasachi Rai, 27,hailing from Uttar Pradesh said the age cap if implemented would be a draw back for those from rural backgrounds. This he felt would happen as they were the ones not able to combat the burden of syllabus, and had to give themselves multiple tries to clear. “Denying us an opportunity would mean denying us the right to education,” said Rai.
A student activist and whistle blower in Madhya Pradesh’s Vyapam scam, Anand Rai, revealed that several candidates had not followed the NCERT syllabus and were neither from English medium schools. It was they, he said, who took several turns before clearing the test. “There are students who have studied in madrassas till the age of 10 and then joined mainstream schooling. Why should anyone be denied a chance?” asked Rai.
The other side of the fence felt that these repeat candidates were the ones who ended up employing fraudulent means to clear the exam. “If a student wants to get into a post-graduation course, there should be no age limit. But for undergraduate courses in medicine, most are in the age group of 17-20 years. If the student has attempted the entrance test three or four times without success, he should look for some other career choice. Exams after Class XII should have an age criteria,” added the official to the TOI.