Central government is planning to make NEET mandatory for agricultural courses. As per the academicians, this will mostly affect the rural students.
12 May 2018: Academicians said that the Centre plans to make NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) mandatory for admission to agricultural courses from the year 2019. So, this could be the last year of admission in agricultural courses on the basis of class XII marks.
There are 14 constituent colleges and 24 affiliated colleges in Tamil Nadu offering agricultural courses. The total number of seats in the year 2017 was 3080 of which 1220 were in constituent colleges and 1860 in affiliated colleges. The total number of seats increased after 21 private colleges applied for more seat allotment in the year 2016.
As per the Vice-chancellor of Tamil Agricultural University, K Ramasamy, 13 agricultural courses are considered professional. Till now, a common entrance test is conducted by the Centre for 15% seats in all these colleges.
For the year 2018, the Centre has included veterinary sciences under the purview of NEET. Earlier to this, only medical and dental courses were covered under the medical entrance examination. Higher Education minister for the state, K P Anbalagan confirmed that no Engineering courses will be taken under NEET for the year 2018.
As per the academicians, making NEET mandatory for agricultural courses has come as a shock for both parents and students. Rural students will be the most affected by this decision. Last year when the NEET exam became mandatory for MBBS, most of the students from rural areas opted for Agricultural courses.
"Most of the medical and IAS aspirants took up agricultural courses. If NEET is mandatory, then the number of students enrolling will be affected"; a source said.
As told by Gagandeep Singh Bedi (Agricultural Production Commissioner and Principal Secretary to the government) to Times of India, so far there was no correspondence from the central government in this regard. Parliament has decided that it is not possible to introduce the change this year.