In a significant development, the National Medical Council paved the way for students who have opted for PCM (Physics, Chemistry, and Math) in their 10+2 classes. Relaxing the eligibility criteria for NEET UG 2023, such students additionally need to clear a biology or biotechnology subject at 10+2 level from a recognized board.
As per the latest guidelines declared by the NMC, students who have taken physics, chemistry, biology/biotechnology, and English after clearing their 11th and 12th exams shall be permitted to appear for the NEET UG. These candidates will also be eligible for the eligibility certificate issued by NMC, which is legal proof that certifies that the student is eligible to pursue undergraduate medical courses abroad.
Traditionally, as per the regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997, the candidate has always been required to undergo two years of continuous or regular study of physics, chemistry, biology, or biotechnology in the 11th and 12th grades, along with practical and English subjects, to pursue medical undergraduate studies. These two years of study were supposed to be completed at a recognised regular school, whereas open school students or private students did not qualify for eligibility. The Delhi High Court overturned these rules in 2018.
As per the old norms, the study of biology or biotechnology could not be taken up as an additional subject after clearing the 10+2 curriculum. The new mandate by NMC thus provides an opportunity to those candidates who wish to pursue medical dreams despite not having taken up biology or biotechnology as their core subjects during the 11th and 12th grades.
Sources from NMC quoted that the committee had discussions over this on June 14, 2023, after which the decision was taken to relax the criteria and grant the eligibility certificates to students who wish to pursue their medical dreams abroad. The rationale behind the decision was the flexibility offered by the National Education Policy (NEP) for the study of various subjects in the 12th-grade curriculum. The implementation of this decision shall be done retroactively, and eligibility certificates shall be provided to candidates who were previously rejected. However, students who become eligible after passing this rule can appear for NEET UG 2024.
The new NMC guidelines will hopefully create a new pathway for students who wish to pursue medical studies without having studied biology or biotechnology in their 12th grade.
(Inputs from various sources)
Rehash/Dr Sushmita Ganguli