NEET grace marks nixed, re-test option for 1,563 students: Govt

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The scorecards of 1,563 NEET-UG 2024 candidates who were given grace marks for time lost in the examination will be scrapped, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday. The students can opt for a re-test on June 23, and the results will be declared on June 30. If these candidates do not take the re-test, their earlier score will be considered the result, without the grace marks.

Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who welcomed the Supreme Court’s order to withdraw grace marks and carry out a re-test for select students, said that there was no evidence of any question paper leak.

“For those who appear for a re-test, the May 5 (earlier) scores will be discarded,” the Court said. The Supreme Court has not put a halt on the counselling process for NEET-UG 2024.

This year, 24 lakh students took the NEET, out of which around 13 lakh qualified.

“The grace/compensatory marks awarded to 1,563 students stand withdrawn. A retest will be held on June 23,” the National Testing Agency (NTA), which carries out the NEET, said in a post on social media platform, X. The agency further said it will “shortly” reach out to these candidates via email so that they receive “official communication.”

  • Also read: NEET-UG entrance exam: 67 candidates secure the top rank this year
WIDESPREAD DISSATISFACTION

The Centre’s decision follows allegations of irregularities and unfair marking in the nationwide medical entrance exams, resulting in widespread protests.

Post-results coming out on June 4, it was found that a high number (67) of students scored 720 out of 720, thereby securing the top spot nationwide. This, many said, was impossible. In fact, many of the toppers were from one particular centre only, which further fanned the concerns.

Subsequently, Alakh Pandey, the CEO of education technology firm Physics Wallah, filed a petition regarding irregularities in NEET-UG 2024. Other petitions alleging paper leaks and irregularities in awarding grace marks, among others, were also filed.

“The respondent NTA may proceed for holding the re-test….” the court order read.

Hearings on other petitions, such as the paper leak, will continue.

NO PAPER LEAK

According to the Education Minister, there is no concrete evidence of any paper leak. Rather, awarding grace marks led to a 100 per cent score for some.

“There is no evidence of a paper leak. These are allegations, and we are ready to give answers in Court,” he said.

Explaining the process, Pradhan said there are two question sheets for the NEET. On the day of the exam, it is announced whether question sheet A or B will be used. In six centres (with these 1,563 students), the wrong set of questions were given. When the matter was noticed, the correct question paper set was given. This led to time loss.

“There is a standing order of the Supreme Court that if such issues are raised in entrance exams, instead of giving a re-exam, an average marking can be done. The NTA followed it. Post this, some students got 100 per cent marks,” he said.

Pradhan, who took charge as Education Minister on Thursday, said the NTA was a highly competent authority. “There is no corruption. This environment (of distrust) has been created over the past few days . The Centre has taken up seriously the specific instances that have come to light. Action will be taken against those found guilty.”

TRUST FACTOR

Physics Wallah’s Pandey said there was a trust issue now with the testing agency. “The question is if NTA has other discrepancies that we are unaware of. So, there is a trust issue now,” he told media.

A political slugfest has also broken out.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, in a post on social media platform X, said that the future of 24 lakh students appearing in the NEET examination is at stake. “A nexus of exam centres and coaching centres has been formed, where the game of ‘pay money, get paper’ is being played,” he wrote.

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