Students in a fix over common medical test

31 Oct

KOLKATA: It’s time for students from Bengali-medium schools preparing for the next medical entrance test to hone up their English skills. In addition, they will now have to put in extra effort to get familiar with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus to appear for the common all-India medical test.

Students from the state have been left in a tight spot after the Medical Council of India and the Union health ministry asked the CBSE board to conduct a common medical entrance examination, breaking away from the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination (WBJEE) for both engineering and medical entrance in colleges.

The common test will have multiple choice questions (MCQ) in English. For that, students will have to understand the questions. Though the Bengal government keeps on insisting that students can write the examination in vernacular, the type of the test leaves little option for that since students will only have to tick the right option.

Students from Bengali-medium schools will now have to get acquainted with the scientific terms in addition to the difference in syllabus between the CBSE and the West Bengal Higher Secondary Council. CBSE follows National Council for Technical Education ( NCTE) books while the state council has its own syllabus. “The students from the state council will have to get acquainted with CBSE syllabus to appear for the medical test,” said a senior official.

Caught in a bind, the Bengal government has given a nod to the Centre’s decision to conduct the common test in English. “The Centre has turned down our plea to set questions in Bengali,” said director of medical education Susanta Banerjee. Banerjee’s admission clearly points out that there is no scope taking the examination in Bengali when the test will be based on MCQs set in English.

“There cannot be any proposition that question papers will be set in English but students can write the answers in Bengali since all the questions are MCQs. Hence, the students will only need to tick the right options given along with the questions,” said CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi.

WBJEE board chairman Bhaskar Gupta will write a letter to higher education secretary Satish Tiwary to get a clear picture on the issue. “I have already spoken to education minister Bratya Basu on the matter. We have set the first week of November as the deadline ,” said Gupta.

The board chairman appreciated the uncertainty among higher secondary students who are yet to know which syllabus they are to follow – CBSE or WBHS. “We have to distribute the WBJEE forms from November onwards. The government has to take decision within this time frame for the sake of students.”

State education minister Bratya Basu said the government will take a decision soon. “I am aware of the situation. I will take up the matter with chief minister Mamata Banerjee once I receive the letter from the WBJEE board.”

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