However, NEET aspirants told the Education Times that their decision to take the exam while putting their health at risk was driven by helplessness.
Pratham Malik, who had passed Class XII of the Pathania Public School in Rohtak in 2018, was preparing diligently for NEET 2020 as he was unable to attend a renowned medical school in 2019.
“I couldn’t go to a state college last year, so I decided to drop out of NEET 2020 and prepare for it. That year, students have been in constant trouble due to fear of viruses, exam postponement, and late academic session. Since I’ve already gone down a year, I didn’t have the freedom to invest another year as the course lasts 5.5 years. It was depressing that in an increasing number of Covid-19 cases we were almost forced to take the exam, ”added Malik.
Similarly, Pragati Mishra 2019 passed grade XII from the open school through the Jharkhand Academic Council (JAC) and has been preparing for NEET 2020 for over a year. By September 10, the coronavirus was spreading rapidly in their Ranchi colony.
“I had already invested a year in the preparation and couldn’t afford to miss this year’s exam. Although my colony’s condition worsened, I took all precautions at home and decided to show up for the exam. My immune system is weak. What if I test positive for Covid-19 in the next few days? The thought in itself is scary, ”says Mishra.
She adds, “There aren’t many alternative ways to take medical courses in India. Mental pressure affects exam performance. If I can’t do well for MBBS then I have to look at an alternative like BDS because I can’t afford to waste a year. ”
While many came to the exam with precautions, some did not have that choice. Vaibhav Kumar, who graduated from Class XII at the Maheshwari Public School in Jaipur this year, could not appear for the exam because he could not endanger the health of his grandparents.
“I live with my grandparents who have diabetes, which puts them at a higher risk of contracting the life-threatening coronavirus. I have been preparing for NEET for over two years, but my grandparents are old and my parents would not allow me to come for the exam while I am endangering my family’s health. I now need to change my stream to BSc in Biology or BA. I may appear for NEET 2021, ”adds Kumar.