Are we doing enough to ensure students receive equal rights to education?
October 17: A common entrance exam said to take away bias for students entering into medical and dental colleges was put in place as the NEET UG examination in 2013. But now, 9 years later, the highly competitive NEET UG examination is still said to be in favor of the elite. It was quoted by a high-level committee that “NEET has undermined the diverse societal representation in MBBS and higher medical studies favoring mainly the affordable and affluent segments while thwarting the dreams of underprivileged social groups to pursue medical education”. It was also concluded by this committee that “NEET is against disadvantaged groups.” Multiple political parties have been at play debating whether NEET is the right way to proceed with fair education. To top it off, the extreme inequality of wealth distribution across India with a majority of household’s incomes making less than the nation’s average, gives a huge disadvantage to these students. Many of these students also live in rural or Tier 2 cities without access to the high-quality education and preparation materials needed to prepare for such a competitive examination.
There are approximately over 18 lakh medical aspirants applying for NEET UG each year and with branded NEET coaching centers charging up to 1 lakh for admission, how can we ensure that students from remote locations as well as low and ,even, middle-income groups have access to equal education quality? It’s here where technology has advanced education to make this possible. Few Ed-tech platforms such as Physics Wallah and Basidia Learning, created by authentic educators in hopes to bridge this gap in education have come forward. These platforms allow students across the nation to have access to high-quality standard material needed to score well and rank high. PhysicsWallah, one of India’s top online Ed-tech platforms provides comprehensive learning for students from classes 6 to 12, NEET UG, and IIT-JEE. Basidia Learning aims to help students with active learning and functions as a practice substitute. This platform, created by a group of doctors for future doctors, provides notes, interactive lessons, videos from top faculty members, custom and mock tests for assessments, and MCQs most likely to appear on the actual NEET UG exam. With over 91% of NEET concepts coming from Basidia, students from remote locations and lower income families can access Basidia from a mobile, tab, or computer anywhere, anytime. Their pocket-friendly prices are 1/10th of the prices of the big, branded coaching centers and have a more up-to-date study approach that is proven to be more effective for these competitive exams. With elite coaching centers backed by multi-billion-dollar companies focused on marketing and business profits over student’s educational standards, these online platforms created by educators with an aim to actually help students are coming to the forefront. Many of the recent NEET UG toppers have shared they used Basidia learning for their daily practice. “My favorite part about Basidia was the learn feature. You can click on a subject, lesson, and subtopic of your choice, which is based on a few pages from NCERT, read it thoroughly and solve MCQs on that topic. This helped a lot. With regular mock tests, my score jumped from 555 to 600+.” says a NEET UG topper. “The way Basidia gives explanations and answers to each question was amazing,” says Lay Ladani, with an all-India rank of 4415.
With all the pressures students have to face, these online educational platforms make studying easier by providing the material exactly needed to crack the exam without overwhelming students with unnecessary information. As per insider sources, every student paying expensive fees enrolled in elite coaching centers doesn’t get access to the top teachers. In fact, more than 70% of students don’t receive their preferred batch of teachers. Only those who rank high in mock tests would have access to those educators and students scoring less are denied access to these top faculty members. This discriminates against slow learners, not giving them a chance at a higher quality of education. Ed-tech platforms allow all students, regardless of scores and ranks, to have access to top faculty and high-quality preparation material. With the new revolution in education incorporating more online videos and classes and virtual mock and custom tests, students can obtain maximum benefit from these platforms and have the potential to secure a coveted medical seat in the college of their choice.
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