Tamil Nadu, for the first time since the introduction of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), exceeded the nationwide pass percentage this year with 57.44% of participants clearing the examination. The national pass percentage was at 56.44%.
Among the major States, the biggest gain in pass percentage was by Gujarat that saw its pass percentage going up by 9.3 percentage points. Tamil Nadu gained 8.87 percentage points compared to its 48.57% pass percentage in 2019.
The State had the 15th highest pass percentage in the country. Ahead of Tamil Nadu were States like Rajasthan, Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh.
Tamil Nadu was the only major State to gain a significant increase in pass percentage continuously in the past two years.
The number of registered participants for NEET from Tamil Nadu, however, came down significantly by 12.5% compared to 2019. This is despite the registered participants across the country going up by 5.1%.
Tamil Nadu saw the biggest drop in the country of 17,380 registered students from a total of 1,38,997 in 2019. It was followed by Kerala where the decline was only 1,775 (1.5%). The remaining eight that witnessed a decline were all Union Territories or States from the Northeast where the number of participants did not exceed 5,000.
The year 2020 also saw a decline in the number of participants taking the examination in Tamil. While 31,239 students took it in Tamil in 2019, it was 17,101 in 2020, down by 45.26%. Among the 11 languages in which the examination can be taken, Tamil saw a significant decline. Though there was a decline in Gujarati, Kannada and Telugu as well, they were negligible.
G.R. Ravindranath, general secretary, Doctors’ Association for Social Equality (DASE), said the increase in pass percentage must be seen positively. “Since our students were not used to medical entrance exams for a few years, they could not do well initially. The increase in pass percentage shows they are beginning to cope,” he said.
Stressing that he was opposed to NEET for a number of reasons, he said the Tamil Nadu government must allocate a considerable portion of its budget towards education for NEET coaching centres.
On the decline in the number of registered participants, he said it was necessary to wait for another year to see if the trend continued. He pointed out that the numbers were growing in the previous year. “This year, many rural students may not have applied owing to the COVID-19 situation and the inability to apply online,” he said.
He added that if Tamil Nadu could implement 7.5% horizontal reservation for government school students, it would bring in more students.