New Delhi: The sudden fall observed in the number of aspirants that took the medical entrance test in regional languages this year, as compared to the last, has the government pondering over on the regional language issue for NEET. It is rethinking over the number of regional languages that aspirants can give the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) in, as the medium of instruction later, is to be English.
According to CBSE statistics, over 10 lakh of the 13,26,725 students who sat for the NEET exam this year wrote the test in English, while one lakh used Hindi. The remaining wrote the test in other languages like Tamil, Oriya, Bengali, Urdu, Assamese, Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu and Kannada.
The percentage of candidates appearing in regional languages has decreased by 2% from the last 10% to 8 % this year. Oriya and Bengali witnessed the highest fall. Gujarati seems to be the most popular regional language for NEET and Urdu, the latest inclusion saw a mere 1700 aspirants take the NEET exam in it.
“There was a huge demand from various states for including regional languages in NEET since many states conducted their own medical entrance exams in their respective languages before it became centralized,” a senior official in the Directorate of Health Services revealed.
“However, if the numbers in regional languages are not many and students start getting comfortable with English, we might just revert to English,” the official said.
However, some regional languages, have to be included because the Supreme Court had given an order to this effect, the officer clarified.
“We will see how it goes, and take a decision on the languages in the coming years,” the official added.
“This is only until the entrance examination level. Once a student is selected to a college, he/she will have to study in English only. For students from regional languages, the Medical Council of India will have a two-month foundation course to make them familiar with some terms which they might be unfamiliar with.”
While the government rethinks on the issue of language, teachers who impart education in regional languages are saying that it is a way to provide equal footing to students.
According to one such teacher who has been teaching in Gujarat for 18 years now “Writing an exam in a regional language only gives an ease of access to students who have studied in the Gujarati language most part of their schooling. For them, it will be difficult to completely switch to English in Class 10 and 12. Though they also know many terms in English, they are more comfortable in their mother tongue.”
When asked why Gujaratis preferred their mother tongue for NEET, the tutor explained to the Print: “Gujarat used to conduct its state medical examination in Gujarati, and had 90 per cent reservation for students coming from the state board. This is why most parents preferred their children to study in their regional language. The same trend has spilled over to the national level.”