Secessionist groups and anti-National elements in Tamil Nadu have hijacked the agitation against the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), a qualifying examination for selection of candidates for undergraduate courses in medicine and dental science across India. The agitators got a convenient stick to beat both the State and Central governments when a 17-year-old girl S Anitha of Ariyalur committed suicide last Thursday following her failure to score the minimum qualifying marks in the NEET. Though she had scored fairly good marks in the Tamil Nadu State Board Examination, Anitha, belonging to a Scheduled Caste community failed miserably in the NEET which is the qualifying standard for admission to MBBS and BDS courses.
…Tamil Nadu government (whether it be that of the AIADMK or the DMK) has done nothing to improve the quality of the State Board Syllabus.
Team PGurus had reported about the anti-NEET agitation in Tamil Nadu by secessionist groups and professional demonstrators. The year 2016-2017 saw Tamil Nadu and certain other States managing to get an exemption from NEET from the Centre with a plea that the students in these States were not NEET compatible. Their contention was that the NEET was based on the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Examination) syllabus followed in public schools while Tamil Nadu and some of the States where following the State Board syllabus, which is of a lower standard. The Centre, based on the recommendations of the Medical Council of India, has been sounding the States to have a uniform qualifying test for selection of candidates to the MBBS and BDS courses.
Tamil Nadu government has been arguing that the students from rural areas in the State would not be able to compete with their counterparts in cities and other States because the city-bred students were trained by private coaching centres for cracking the NEET. The poor rural students in the State cannot afford to attend such elite coaching classes and they would always be at a disadvantage against their counterparts in the cities, argued the Tamil Nadu government. While repeating this argument time and again, the truth is that Tamil Nadu government (whether it be that of the AIADMK or the DMK) has done nothing to improve the quality of the State Board Syllabus.
What went unnoticed and un discussed in this controversy was the fact that the Dravidian chauvinists have been denying the same rural students in the State the option of quality education. Tamil Nadu is the only State in the Union which does not have a single Navodaya Vidyalaya, a concept launched by the Union Human Resources Development ministry in 1985 to provide public school education free of cost to rural children all over the country.
There are nearly 600 Navodaya Vidyalayas in India (except in Tamil Nadu). Each district in the country has one Navodaya Vidyalaya in which 75 per cent of the seats is exclusively reserved for students from rural areas. Students are selected to the sixth standard based on a written test. The medium of instruction in classes 6 to 8 is in regional language. In classes 9 and 10, the medium of instruction is in the regional language and in English. In 11the and 12th standards, English is compulsory. While all States in the Union (Including the red citadel Kerala) welcomed the Navodaya Vidyalaya concept with open arms, Tamil Nadu said a big no to this innovative mission. The reason? “The Navodaya Vidyalaya is an attempt by the Centre to impose Hindi and Sanskrit on Tamil Nadu. These two languages are not welcome in Tamil Nadu,” the government pleader stated in Madras High Court recently when the Court hearing a petition on Navodaya Vidyalaya asked the State government why there were no such schools in the State. This means that there is an undeclared ban on Hindi and Sanskrit in Tamil Nadu. Moreover, the managements of private schools in Tamil Nadu do not want Navodaya Vidyalayas in the State because such schools would put an end to their swindling the hapless parents!
Had there been Navodaya Vidyalayas in Tamil Nadu, Anitha, the girl who committed suicide following her failure to clear the NEET, need not have resorted to the extreme step. The Navodaya Vidyalaya follows the CBSE syllabus and hence the students coming out of this stream would have been able to crack the NEET without any help from private coaching centres. Hence it could be concluded that the governments headed by the Dravidian parties themselves are to be blamed for Anita’s suicide.
Interestingly, the people who challenge the NEET is none other than the management of private schools and professional colleges. Prince Gajendra Babu, a Christian fundamentalist, masquerading as educationist is the prime force financing the agitation against the NEET. It is the private self-financing colleges which stand to lose once the admission to medical colleges is made through NEET. They would not be able to sell medical seats at the rate of Rs 1.88 crores per seat. If there is no NEET, the MBBS seats could be sold at premium rates. Remember, only students born to crorepati parents would be able to make it to medical colleges.
The last three days saw secessionist elements like Naam Tamizhar, May 1Movement, Viduthalai Chiruthai Katchi (VCK) and the Left parties with the active support of the DMK bringing normal life to a standstill. They portray Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the main villain in this episode too. They had blamed him for the Supreme Court ban on Jallikkattu and the decision of the then DMK government to allow hydrocarbon extraction project in Neduvasal. This time they burnt effigies of Modi all over Tamil Nadu.
Readers may kindly note that Anitha was not an ordinary Dalit girl. Her four brothers are all professionally qualified youth. The elder brother is an MBA waiting for a call letter from UPSC for a top job. The second brother, a post graduate is a banker while the third and fourth siblings are engineering college students doing their civil and mechanical engineering courses.
The Dravidian parties and Marxists have bizarre explanations for their opposition to NEET. Thirumavalavan, the virulent anti-India politician, sees the NEET and GST as attempts by the BJP and the RSS to destroy the cultural diversity and religious pluralism of India. Sitaram Yechury, the boss of the CPI-M, is of the view that Hindi stands for Hindutva.
While the consortium of private professional college managements and State Board students have chartered the best legal brains in the country to argue their stance against the NEET, students and parents who want NEET alone to be the qualifying marks have hired Nalini Chidambaram, wife of P Chidambaram for arguing in the Supreme Court. Nalini is a respected attorney with a good standing in the courts. Interestingly, the Congress in Tamil Nadu, which is vehemently opposing the NEET to be in the good books of the DMK, its local guardian, the party is silent over Nalini appearing in the case on behalf of the pro-NEET students…