NEET 2018 Latest News and Updates - The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) UG 2018 has been in the headlines ever since the official NEET 2018 prospectus was released on February 8, 2018. The national-level medical entrance exam has been announced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) with some new and controversial changes including the barring of NIOS candidates, reintroduction of an upper age limit and other major changes to the NEET eligibility criteria. A lot of confusion has been created with regards to what the new changes in NEET 2018 are and many candidates are still in the process of trying to understand how their eligibility for NEET has been affected. Check from the article given below complete details regarding NEET latest news and updates.
Along with the NEET prospectus, the CBSE has also made available the application form for NEET 2018 from February 8 and candidates will be able to fill the same by March 9, 2018 (till 11.50 PM). Before that however, it is important for them to know latest news on NEET and what are the changes which have been introduced in NEET 2018 in terms of the scope of the exam, eligibility criteria and exam pattern. Careers360 brings here NEET 2018 latest news and updates and the key changes that have been introduced for NEET.
NEET 2018 - Important changes and updates
Reintroduction of upper age limit: A major source of controversy in NEET 2017 which required the Supreme Court’s intervention, the upper age limit rule of NEET has been reintroduced this year. From this year onwards, unreserved candidates who have attained the age of 25 years and reserved category candidates who have attained the age of 30 years will not be allowed to appear in the exam. Only those candidates who are born on or between May 7, 1993 (1988 for reserved categories) and January 1, 2002 will be eligible for NEET 2018.
Removal of cap of number of attempts: Last year, the CBSE had introduced a cap on number of attempts available to candidates in NEET. Through this, candidates could only appear for NEET a maximum of three times, with the first attempt being counted from NEET 2017 onwards. However, as per the CBSE NEET 2018 prospectus, the cap on number of attempts has now been removed. All candidates will now be able to appear for NEET as many times as the applicable upper age limit permits them.
AYUSH admissions to be through NEET 2018: A major change to the scope of NEET is that the exam will be used to conduct admissions to Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) undergraduate courses as well. As per a Ministry of AYUSH notification from 2017, NEET 2018 scores will also be used to admit candidates to BAMS, BHMS, BUMS, BSMS and BNYS across all states in addition to admissions to the approximately 65,000 MBBS and 25,000 BDS seats. Aspirants should also note that admissions to 15% All India Quota seats in Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry (BVSc & AH) courses will also be through NEET 2018.
Urdu introduced as language option: After a prolonged struggle last year by the Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO) to convince the Supreme Court to include Urdu as one of the languages in NEET, CBSE has included Urdu as one of the language options for NEET 2018. In addition to English and Hindi, Urdu will also be a new language option available in all examination centres of NEET. Apart from this, candidates can also opt to appear for NEET in 8 other regional languages including Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya and Kannada in exam centres located only in the states in which these languages are spoken.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana join All India Quota (AIQ) scheme: Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the two states apart from Jammu and Kashmir which had exempted themselves from the NEET 15% All India Quota scheme since its inception, have decided to participate in the same from NEET 2018 onwards. This means that 15% of the seats available in the Government Medical and Dental colleges of these two states will now be available for All India Quota counselling. Also, candidates from these states will be able to participate in the All India Quota process without having to submit the prescribed self-declaration form. Jammu and Kashmir is now the only state exempt from the NEET AIQ scheme.
Open school candidates ineligible: Candidates from the NIOS board or those who have completed their Class 12 as private candidates will no longer be eligible to apply for NEET 2018.
Biology compulsory subject: It will be mandatory for all candidates to have studied Biology/Biotechnology with practicals in both Classes 11 and 12. Candidates cannot opt for Biology as an additional subject in or after Class 12 alone.
No gap between Classes 11 and 12 permitted: As per the revised Code 2 of the NEET Qualifying examination codes, candidates will be required to undertake two years "of regular and continuous study of Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Bio-technology". This means that no gap year will be permitted between Classes 11 and 12. Also, Code 2 will be the minimal qualification requirement all candidates will have to satisfy irrespective of whether they are appearing for NEET post completion of any of the other permitted qualifying exams.
Class 11 details required: As per the NEET 2018 application form, candidates will have to enter Class 11 details as well, in addition to Class 10 and Class 12 details. The required information includes name of school, year of passing and the location of the school. However, candidates can still submit the application form despite having a gap year between Class 11 and 12 and they are advised to do incase the rule is revoked at any point.
Reservation for differently-abled candidates increased: With the adoption of the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016 in NEET, 5% of seats in All India Quota across all Government medical and dental colleges will be reserved for differently-abled/PH/PwD candidates through NEET 2018, an increase from 3% last year.
Exam cities increased: As compared to 104 cities in 2017, NEET 2018 will be held in more than 2000 exam centres across 150 cities in India.
Only one question paper set to be used: Only one question of NEET 2018 will be prepared in English which will then be translated to Hindi and other vernacular languages. The lack of uniformity in questions and alleged differences in the difficulty level of question papers of regional languages had led to numerous complaints from students and parents in NEET 2017.
Instant Aadhar authentication: A new feature introduced in the NEET 2018 application form is that the CBSE will immediately authenticate a candidate’s Aadhar Card details with that contained in the UIDAI database as soon as one consents for Aadhar authentication while filling the NEET application form. The details that will be authenticated include name, date of birth and gender. Candidates will not be allowed to proceed with the submission of the application form if the details do not match. Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya candidates will be exempt from this.
Admissions to foreign institutes to be through NEET - As given in the NEET prospectus, "The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India has decided for the Indian students who wish to pursue MBBS/BDS from a foreign Medical Institute need to qualify NEET (UG)." Until now, regular board students needed to only obtain an eligibility certificate from the Medical Council of India (MCI) to be eligible for MBBS/ BDS admissions in institutions outside India. However, now they will be required to clear the minimum category-wise percentile cut off in NEET to be able to apply for the eligibility certificate. NIOS and open school students had already been made ineligible from applying for the certificate last year itself.
While some of the changes introduced by the CBSE such as increase in number of exam centres and inclusion of Urdu can be hailed as positive, others such as the introduction of the upper age limit and barring of NIOS students can be rightly criticized since they have been introduced without warning and have deprived thousands of aspirants of the opportunity to pursue a career in medicine in one stroke. The emerging controversy is sure to have many repurcussions, with prominent education activists preparing to file petitions before the Supreme Court demanding for the revocation of these rules. An important point that has been raised by students and activists while criticizing these rules is that the other two MBBS entrances in the country, AIIMS MBBS and JIPMER MBBS, neither have an upper age limit rule and also allow candidates of all ages to appear. Candidates who are interested in AYUSH courses but are above the upper age are also no longer able to fill the form, depriving many candidates the opportunity to pursue even any of these alternative medical courses which they were allowed to so far. It is expected that the CBSE will soon be issuing a clarification on many of these new rules to deflect some of the criticism that is being levelled at it currently. Until then, candidates who are able to fill the NEET application form for now are advised to do so while the decision to change at least some part of the NEET 2018 eligibility criteria or other rules is made.