‘My Dad, Grandpa Never Went To School But My Daughter Will Become A Doctor’: How Quota For TN Government School Students Is Fulfilling Dreams

‘My Dad, Grandpa Never Went To School But My Daughter Will Become A Doctor’: How Quota For TN Government School Students Is Fulfilling Dreams Students check NEET medical entrance exam results. (Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via GettyImages)
Snapshot
  • The reservation for government school students will now ensure that at least 405 of them, including 92 dental college seats, will be able to pursue their dream of becoming a doctor.

There are two features with regard to medical college admissions in Tamil Nadu this year.

One, with a rise in the number of candidates writing the National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET) for medical college seats the cut off limit is up by 80 marks.

Two, the state government has made a horizontal 7.5 per cent reservation for students studying in government schools in medical colleges, including private ones.

The reservation of 7.5 per cent seats for students of government schools is bringing to light many poignant incidents among the beneficiaries. The first one was witnessed when the state government began admissions for the first year MBBS on 18 November.

The father of a girl who was among the top rankers from government schools was moved to tears, saying “neither my grandfather nor my father went to school”. He was full of praise for the 7.5 per cent reservation for students of government schools.

Another beneficiary of the horizontal reservation was a grocery store employee’s son from Lalgudi in Tamil Nadu’s Trichy district. The 18-year-old, who got the seat, agreed that the policy to reserve seats for government schools had helped him.

The son of a painter from Chidambaravidhuthi village in Pudukottai district is another one to benefit from the new policy, that was actually suggested in April 2017 by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president J P Nadda, when he was the health minister.

Another 18-year-old girl who lives in a remote village in Thanjavur district had to study under the open sky as her family lost all its belongings in the 2018 Cyclone Gaja.

But thanks to the government schools quota and help from some good souls, including a Tamil movie actor, she has now got a medical seat.

Ahead of the assembly elections due in six months time, the ruling AIADMK government headed by Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) seems to be scoring some brownie points over his rivals, especially the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), by announcing the horizontal 7.5 per cent quota in medical seats for government school students.

NEET has always been an emotional issue in Tamil Nadu with opposition parties, especially the DMK using it quite often to target the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and EPS government in the state.

And EPS seems to have chosen his moment to strike, though he could have done it early.

When he mooted the idea of horizontal reservation, Nadda and BJP’s views to help rural students, who the opposition claimed would be badly affected.

The horizontal reservation is seen as a huge plus for students studying in government schools.

Before NEET was implemented, less than 30 students from government schools got medical college seats between 2009 and 2016 of the total 4,000-odd seats in the state, including private colleges.

Though late, the reservation for government school students will now ensure that at least 405 of them, including 92 dental college seats, will get to pursue their dream of becoming a doctor.

Of the 99,610 students who appeared for NEET in Tamil Nadu, 57.44 per cent cleared the medical entrance exam, up from 48.57 per cent last year.

Government school students made up 747 of those who cleared NEET with the horizontal reservation coming in as a ray of hope.

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