NEET UG 2017: How will medical students prepare for NEET in regional languages?

The National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET 2017) is continuing to be a topic of lengthy discussion in the field of medical education in India. After the recent announcement of including six regional languages (Tamil, Telugu, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati and Marathi) along with Hindi and English, (NEET 2017: Regional politics strikes before application process commences)Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Odisha have written to the centre requesting the addition of Kannada and Odia respectively. After a couple of weeks, Students Islamic Organization (SIO) got the Minister of Medical Education of Maharashtra, Girish Mahajan to send a petition to the central government about including Urdu as an addition language as well.

Inclusion of regional languages in NEET UG 2017 was taken into consideration because thousands of students study in vernacular medium schools across India. Regional languages were added in order to make appearing for NEET much easier for students. However, nobody has thought about providing preparation material for students seeking State Board education in different states of India, especially since the test will be based on the syllabus of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

This correspondent from PaGaLGuY spoke to Dr S Sachidananda, the Director of Directorate of Medical Education Research, Karnataka says, “The Karnataka State Board syllabus is at par with the CBSE. Students in rural Karnataka are also studying the same material. Including Kannada for NEET 2017 will only help worthy candidates score better. It’s an option for students. Those comfortable with English will appear for the test in English. There is no need to translate material as it is already available for students.”

However, study or coaching material for cracking NEET is available only in Hindi and English. Though the government has included several other languages, students are left wondering if anything will be done to help them with learning the coinage of medical terminology in regional languages.

A representative from Allen Career Institute said, “We don’t have any ready material in local languages. Not too many students have asked for coaching in any other language but Hindi and English. But in case the demand of the same is high, we will soon be equipped to deal with it.”

A representative from Aakash Medical Coaching says, “As and when students need training in regional languages, we’ll be setting up classes as well as study material in regional languages. In fact, in several regions we also have bilingual classes in English and Hindi.”

At the end of the day, students are in a Catch 22 Situation. If they opt for taking NEET in a regional language, they will end up falling short of study material and if they opt for either Hindi or English, the syllabus and language will come in their way