June 4, was much anticipated day in her life. She always wished to be a Doctor. A yearlong preparations, late nights and prayers by beloved ones, everything went fruitless.
However, what exactly June 4 had for Pradeepa, a 17-year-old from a Dalit family, is a result stating that she is “not qualified.” And what she was able to do is “kill her.” That’s what she did.
On Monday, June 4, Pradeepa killed herself in the Peruvallur village in Gingee taluk of Villupuram.
In 2015, Pradeepa was a top scorer in her Class 10 exams. She secured 490 out of 500 and topped the Tindivanam education district in the government school category. She worked hardly and brilliantly bagged a total of 1125 out of 1200 in class 12 too. Then why she was not able to crack NEET 2018?
Last year, it was Anitha. However, this year it is Pradeepa, she too shined in academics despite the odds being set against her.
Pradeepa’s father Shanmugham is an agricultural labourer, and her mother Amritha is a homemaker. Her father had no means to support his daughter’s education after Class 10. But, it was a private school which offered her free education for next two years.
The most surprising thing is, she somehow amidst of all the obstacles managed to crack NEET in her first attempt in 2017 with a score of 155. And she got admission to a naturopathy course under the management quota. However, she was that passionate and determined to pursue MBBS and unable to pay the exorbitant fee, she decided to take a year off to prepare again.
Pradeepa did not have access to any coaching institutions to help her out with this competitive exam. Even the only available option for her was the nearest government coaching centre. But it is at least 70km from her village.
As earlier, NEET points out that the exams favours those students who are privileged enough to attend brilliant coaching centres.
The death of Anitha and Pradeepa, togetherly marks “NEET murder.” Last year, this disease took the life of Anitha. This year it was the turn of Pradeepa to be a victim. The death of Pradeepa is not a suicide, it is institutional murder.
It is very explicit that a student can only crack NEET with the help of an elite coacher or coaching centre that needs lakhs of rupees to pay.
The thing to be highlighted about this NEET exam is that structurally, this exam is against under privileged candidates, particularly for those from villages and who are financially backward. They are the ones who lack money to afford the game of “luxurious coaching” offered by elite institutions all over the country.
NEET exam is primarily based on NCERT text books. However, students appearing for NEET from state board institutions all over the country follow textbooks of different syllabi. How can students following different syllabi write an entrance exam of an entirely new stream?
The socio-economic background of students plays an inevitable part to determine who gets through entrance exams like NEET, JIPMER, AIIMS etc.
Students devote two years by working day and night before appearing exams like NEET, AIIMS, JIMPER. However, NEET is completely ignoring the marks secured by students in Plus 2. Then what’s the point of studying Plus 1 and Plus 2?
It is important that if entrance exams are happening, it must consider the marks bagged by students in Plus 1 and Plus 2.
It is high time for states to consider the worsening situation where students are ending their lives. States must be able to decide their own entrance exams and admission formula which gives equal weight age to marks secured in Plus 1 and 2 along with entrance exams.
Hard works always needed the deserving rewards. All the efforts made by students just to attend this three hour exam needed deserving honor.
Every year, immediately when the results are out, either one or two from low profile backgrounds like Pradeepa, Anita ends their life marking their “inability to fight back” with this NEET myth, which claims as “entrance exam.”
It is not necessary that Doctors should be from “high-class” family. It’s important to highlight that ‘Medicine,’ as a career is not only meant for those born with a golden-spoon. Those deserving ones from low background especially those from villages like Pradeepa too must get the privilege to serve the country.
Serve justice in same form. All are humans!