The report of a student ending her life unable to cope with the stress associated with the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is heart-wrenching. NEET was introduced with the objective of ensuring meritorious entry to medical colleges in the country, without any hassles. But the sad reality is that in a country as diverse as India, with entrenched socio-economic inequalities, common entrance exams such as NEET are seen to be playing havoc with the lives of students from the lower strata. The perception that NEET does not offer level-playing field to all students as those who have access to private and expensive coaching are at an advantage, cannot be faulted. That young students give up halfway also reflects poorly on our education system. Students are hardly being taught to accept that failure is a part of life and that they should move on with their endeavours with the lessons learnt from such episodes in life. In the mad pursuit of scoring high marks and academic grades, the significance of instilling the virtues of perseverance, persistence patience and resilience in young, impressionable minds is being given a go-by. NEET is here to stay. Hence, it is time that steps are taken to ensure a level-playing field in such exams. Periodic counselling for students to cope with and overcome stress and have a positive attitude are a must (Page 1, “Don’t glorify student suicides, says judge”, September 15).
Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu
I am unable to understand why political parties are now finding fault with entrance examinations. If political leaders are really concerned about the plight of students, then they should think of free coaching for the benefit of students who need assistance. Parents must realise the reality, counsel their wards and prepare them well for such examinations.