Friday 2 March 2018 2:58 AM UTC
By Jeevan Vipinachandran
A flying career in Medicine or Engineering is still the main dream for many NRI students and their families. Many people still perceive these two professions as the ones that determine their social status – which remains the influencing factor in choosing a career.
So how can NRI students qualify for and pass the entrance exams (like NEET – National Eligibility and Entrance Test for medicine) for these courses?
NEET is the single examination which is responsible for filling 54,000 seats in medicine across the country. The exam can only be applied for online – there are links for the form at the end of this article.
The next round of applications will be in January 2018, with the exam itself in May 2018. The candidate must be at least 17 years of age and must have achieved at least 50% pass marks at Class 12 (UK Year 12) level.
Admissions to NEET are based on the Indian Plus 2 examination or their foreign equivalent, (A levels in the UK case). The qualifications must be in Maths, Physics, Biology or Biotech and must have included a practical exam. The Kerala NEET examination centres are Ernakulum, Kozhikode and Trivandrum.
15% of the seats for NEET are set aside for NRIs and 5% fall under the management quota. The challenge for applicants is primarily the prohibitive cost. The fees for getting into the courses are not fixed, therefore colleges can often charge what they like.
It is known for the fees at good colleges to be as high as 1.5 crore rupees for the entire course, which, as one Indian medical aspirant’s parent said, is ‘beyond our reach’. A more average institution specialising in, say, dentistry charges between 3 and 7.5 lakh rupees.
There are specific rules for NRIs in securing a place in medical colleges and these rules can be easily exploited to NRI advantage. At present the rules are not being fully utilised by NRIs. For instance, if your grandparents were NRI you could take full advantage to gain a place of study. NRIs, unlike Indians, don’t need to show an Aadhar card – their passport number will suffice.
Fifteen percent of the entrance exam seats for engineering are reserved for NRIs. The Indian government is considering a national uniform joint entrance examination (JEE), similar to NEET, for engineering students which could debut in a few years.
A key factor which has prevented the take up of these quota of seats has been the impact of demonetisation and the Indian national digital drive. People are reluctant to pay online. Many parents want to pay by cash and not direct debit leading to only 81 out of 757 seats being filled in Karnataka, for example.
A further issue is that many applicants fail to meet the minimum score on tests to be admissible to a course. It has proved to be so challenging to get a sufficient number of candidates that some colleges are considering lowering the pass marks needed to enter the course. The pass mark for students to sit the NEET has been reduced in recent years.
This does not mean that prospective students should get disheartened. The 15% NRI quota for selected colleges means that NRIs can get into private medical colleges as well. Furthermore the high number of empty seats in the final, so-called ‘mop-up’ rounds means that NRIs can now take advantage of a new change.
The quota seats will now become management seats which charge less in fees. The NRI quota is a potentially great opportunity for aspiring Doctors and Engineers in the NRI community.
It would be advisable to take a good look at it. Some relevant links are below:
http://cbseneet.nic.in/cbseneet/Welcome.aspx (Official NEET site)
Jeevan Vipinachandran is a political analyst and writer, specialising in political violence and counter-terrorism. He graduated from LSE with a Masters in Comparative Politics: Conflict Studies.
He has written for the Conservative Party, Future Foreign Policy and the Times of Israel. Regular updates can be found on Twitter on @jeevanvc and www.jeevanvc.com. Jeevan also blogs on business development and holistic lifestyle growth at www.my-wise-owl.com.
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