NEET 2018 Aspirants: Don’t panic! There is enough misinformation out there!

Ashish Jha | Apr 20, 2018 - 3:47 p.m. IST
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New Delhi, April 20: Only 4 seats are available per 100 candidates through NEET 2018? With 2 lakh more candidates for NEET, the competition is tougher this year? A new dress code has been announced for NEET with the release of the admit card?  The answer to all of these questions is a straight “No”! These news items reported in leading media platforms are cases of misplaced understanding of facts. This has not only led to increased confusion among numerous NEET aspirants, but also caused panic.  In an age where ‘clickable’ headlines and ‘viral’ content drive traffic, facts are being regularly sacrificed at the altar of sensationalism.

Bringing all the missing facts to you, we present here the case-lets of incorrect news stories on NEET published by prominent news websites over the past few weeks:

Case 1: Hindustan Times Report dated April 18

Story Headline:

NEET 2018: Over 13 lakh register for 60,000 seats, competition getting tougher

What the story says?

“Admissions to undergraduate medical and dental courses across the country is bound to get difficult with the total registrations for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) increasing by almost two lakh….The total number of seats in MBBS and BDS institutes across the country stands at 60,000.”

 

Case 2: The Times of India Report dated April 19

Story Headline:

NEET 2018: Only 4 out of 100 candidates will get admission this year

What the story says?

“There are 66,000 seats are on offer for the admission in government, government-aided and private colleges. It means only 4.49 (approx 4) will be able to get the admission out of 100 students.”

 

Case 3: NDTV Report dated April 19

Story Headline:

2 Lakh More Aspirants for NEET This Year

What the story says?

“In NEET 2018, for every single seat a student has to compete with 21 other candidates…..Over 60000 medical seats are available in the country for MBBS and BDS courses. With such growing popularity, medical aspirants ought to face a tough competition.”

A Reality Check: Why these stories are wrong?

Firstly, the total number of MBBS and BDS seats in India is approximately 90,000 and not 60,000 as stated. A substantial increase in NEET registrations was always expected since admissions to AYUSH courses across all states will be on the basis of NEET scores alone from 2018 onwards. Also, students seeking admissions to foreign medical courses have to compulsorily appear for NEET from this year onwards. Thus, competition is unlikely to be tougher as the scope of NEET exam itself has been expanded this year.

For more details, click - https://news.careers360.com/more-13-lakh-candidates-apply-neet-2018

 

Case 4: Financial Express Report dated April 19

Story Headline:

NEET 2018: CBSE’s notice on dress code out – no shoes, eatables allowed; here’s what you must wear to appear in exam

What the story says?

“The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), on Tuesday released an important notice regarding the dress code for NEET 2018 examination.”

A Reality Check: Why the story is wrong?

Another example of blatant sensationalism to drive traffic as the CBSE did not issue any notification on Tuesday (April 17, 2018) as has been claimed. All details about the NEET dress code were already (and solely) given in the NEET Prospectus issued on February 8, 2018.

 

Case 5: The New Indian Express Report dated January 23

Story Headline:

Government set to revert MCI order; Open school students likely to be allowed to appear for NEET

What the story says?

“Bringing relief to students of the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), the Centre has decided to revert a decision by the Medical Council of India (MCI) to prevent them from appearing in the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) this year.”

A Reality Check: Why the story is wrong?

Published a day after the Medical Council of India (MCI) published changes in the NEET 2018 eligibility criteria in the Gazette of India on January 22, 2018, the story confidently claimed that the changes would be overturned and the newly ineligible open school students would be eligible to appear for the exam. Not only did the CBSE NEET prospectus issued on February 8, 2018, prove otherwise, but the case against the eligibility criteria is still raging in the Delhi High Court, clearly reflecting how little relief the affected candidates actually received contrary to what was claimed in the news story.

 

Case 6: The Times of India Report dated December 10

Story Headline:

NEET to be held on May 10

What the story says?

The medical council of India (MCI) has announced that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) will be held on May 10.”

A Reality Check: Why the story is wrong?

Even before the NEET 2018 process was officially begun, unverified news articles began to spread panic among aspirants. NEET has always been held on the first Sunday of May, and the confident claim in the story that the MCI had “announced” it would hold the same on Thursday, May 10, was based on nothing more than an MCI Executive Committee Meeting minutes document from September 2017 where it stated that NEET 2018 would be held ‘by’ and not ‘on’ May 10, 2018. The date was finally confirmed as May 6, 2018, through the official NEET Prospectus, but not before various media portals picked up on this story and did their bit to spread panic among NEET aspirants.

Lack of accountability leading to lack of reliability

With the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Medical Council of India (MCI) repeating their blunders year after year with regard to the conduct of NEET, there is a ready ‘golden goose’ for those looking to seriously report on the issues faced by thousands of students across the country each time such a major entrance examination comes along.  The unforgiving competition for traffic, however, means that potentially important news is nowadays published without proofreading or fact-checking and it is the students and parents, already burdened by illogical rule changes and the incompetent administration of various exam processes by the authorities, who suffer more in the end.


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