Registrations for NEET 2019 recently came to an end on December 7 and this time, the all-India medical exam is going to be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), which will hopefully give the candidates a smooth and streamlined experience.
Number of applicants surge as NEET mandatory for overseas MBBS students
The number of applicants for NEET was set to surge this year because candidates opting to pursue MBBS in any university abroad would also have to clear NEET for the process.
“Last year there were approximately 13 lakh students who had enrolled for NEET 2018. The number will spike this year because NEET has been made mandatory for overseas MBBS students as well,” says Saju Bhaskar, President of Caribbean-based Texila American University, a MCI recognized medical university.
India only offers around 60,000 medical education seats in total for both govt and private colleges, which makes it necessary for many candidates to go abroad for their medical education.
NEET 2018 to NEET 2019: Changes made
NEET has seen many changes this year. In February 2018, NEET was made mandatory for even overseas MBBS aspirants, but many candidates planning to pursue MBBS abroad were not ready.
“In September, as a one-time exemption to medical aspirants, the High Court directed that students who did not enroll for NEET 2018 can study medicine abroad,” says Bhaskar
“Further, the High Court of Delhi gave a one-time exemption even to students who failed in NEET to study medicine abroad,” he added.
.Thus, in 2018, the NEET mandate to study medicine in abroad was completely quashed. However, from 2019, NEET will be mandatory for every student dreaming of becoming a doctor.
Students who went abroad in 2018 to study medicine had to take an eligibility certificate from MCI whether they had qualified NEET or not.
Rise in applicants to foreign medical colleges in 2018
Medical colleges abroad saw a rise in the number of applicants in 2018 because from 2019, they wouldn’t be able to do so without clearing NEET first.
“We saw a surge in the number of students this year,” says Bhaskar, about the number of medical applicants at Caribbean-based Texila American University in 2018.
“The academic background of these students was also good. They didn’t want to take a chance and waste another year because 2019 may see many more changes which may or may not be good for them,” he adds.
“We had got thousands of applications from candidates who had qualified NEET, those who did not register for NEET, and those who failed NEET. We offered admissions based on overall profile, and not just the NEET performance,” he says.