Giving in to demands from students, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced its 11th examination city in the state to conduct the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical admissions.
A circular released on Tuesday announced that Nanded, in Marathwada, will also be a centre. It also said that students have time till March 31 to update the centre’s information on their forms online.
While the state was previously allotted six examination cities in the state — Aurangabad, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nashik, Pune and Thane — CBSE recently added Ahmednagar, Amravati, Kolhapur and Satara to the list. Along with Nanded, the total count of examination cities in Maharashtra is now 11, the highest in the country.
“Since Maharashtra government will not conduct a separate Common Entrance Test for health science aspirants, every interested student will have to opt for NEET. Obviously we would need more centres in the state,” said Ashish Bangera, a parent.
Students and parents had protested against having only six examination cities in the state as many students from rural areas had to travel to far flung cities to take the test. “Students remain worried about NEET and extra travel will only add to their anxiety,” Bangera added.
Earlier this month, some activists had written to state medical education minister Girish Mahajan, asking for his help in demanding more examination centres for the state. While CBSE had previously announced 84 examination cities across all states and union territories, they have recently added 24 more cities where NEET 2017 will be held, taking the total count to 104 cities. Each of these cities will now be allotted different number of examination centres.
“About 11.35 lakh students have registered for NEET I & II this year while the numbers stood at 8.02 lakh last year,” sated the circular. It added, “Looking at this substantial increase in numbers, the Ministry of Human Resource and Development has decided to increase the number of examination cities.”