In a deviation from the customs, specially-abled students or the students suffering from mental disorders are allowed to sit for the NEET examination.

What’s special?

For the first time in history, persons with 21 disabilities, like dyslexia, cerebral palsy, Parkinsons’s, and partial loss of hearing and vision, have been allowed to appear for the NEET entrance examination for post-graduation courses in medicine. A similar notification is expected soon for entrance to undergraduate courses too, allowing such challenged persons to pursue MBBS course.

Prior to this only person with partial limb paralysis were allowed to avail the disability quota.

No Concessions

However, the government machinery has not yet considered any special provisions in teaching methodology or mode of examination to help such challenged persons undertake and complete courses in medicine. So, the challenged candidates will not get any concession in studies or examinations during the course alongside able-bodied candidates.

How did this happen?

The central government recently announced that PG NEET candidates with 21 types of disabilities recognized by the Disability Act 2016, who have applied for a seat through the 5% disabled quota, will be given admissions in medical colleges.

At a meeting presided over by the director of medical education and research (DMER) Dr. Pravin Shingare on Monday in Mumbai, members of state medical board were given instructions about new guidelines on the issuance of disability certificates. “Applicants who have chosen disability quota in their entrance form will go through a medical examination,” said Shingare.

The state medical board was formed recently by Shingare, after a video conference hosted by joint secretary of the government of India, along with other DMERs, on April 5. The state medical board includes doctors from Grant Medical College, including the dean, professor of pediatrics, professor of neurology, professor of psychiatry, and superintendent of JJ Hospital.

70% Disability Limit

“There are no special provisions for specially abled persons in the course itself,” said acting dean of Grant Medical College Dr. SD Nanandkar, adding that the course and method of teaching will remain same for all. When asked how deaf or dumb candidates will be able to cope up with studies, Nanandkar said that permissible limits of disability have been set for various disabilities, with maximum 70 percent disability allowed.

A committee constituted under the chairmanship of Dr. Ved Prakash Mishra had asked for total implementation of changes made to Disability Act 2016, which enables such persons to seek admission to medical colleges. “The permissibility has been provided in the act, and my committee’s report has been accepted by MCI, allowing specially-abled students to take admissions to medical courses. While I can give inputs on the policy framework, I don’t know about its operational framework,” said Mishra.

IMA’s Stance

Indian Medical Association state president-elect Dr. YS Deshpande said the government needs to think how visually impaired or deaf students will be able to make a diagnosis. “Ultimately, there are going to be challenges and limitations in arranging an educational set up that provides uniform treatment to the disabled,” he said.

Importance of the initiative

Oncologist Dr. Suresh Advani, a Padma Bhushan awardee, is wheelchair-bound owing to an attack of polio at the age of eight. One of the rare specially abled persons to become a successful doctor, Adwani asserts that medical colleges should give a thought to how they can provide aid to specially-abled students in their courses. “I know of several specially abled persons who have cleared medical courses after some suffering on their end, but if there are any solutions to their problems, it should be provided,” he said.

Source: Times of India