The Tamil Nadu cabinet passed a resolution on Tuesday to reserve 7.5% of all medical seats in the state for students from government schools who clear the National Eligibility cum Eligibility Test (NEET).
The decision to provide reservation for students who have studied in government schools in the state was taken based on the report submitted by P Kalaiyarasan, a retired judge, who had recommended reservation of 7.5%-10% of seats for government school students. This quota is expected to be applicable horizontally across various existing reservations for candidates from the Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K Palaniswami had recently said that the state government will work to provide for reservation within the existing quota system for students who clear NEET and who did their entire schooling (from Classes 1 to 12) in a government school. He had said that the number of government school students getting admitted into the state’s medical colleges had decreased after the introduction of NEET and therefore formed a commission under former Justice P Kalaiyarasan.
The role of the Kalaiyarasan Commission, appointed by the Chief Minister, was to study the socio-economic background of students and come up with suggestions on how to increase the number of students from government schools who are admitted into medical courses. P Kalaiayarasan was given a month’s time to submit his report to the government.
According to data from the Directorate of Medical Education (DME), the number of students who have finished Class 12 from a government school is steadily decreasing over the past few years. Thirty-four students from Tamil Nadu’s government schools were admitted in 2016, while the number went down to seven in 2017. In 2018, the number of government school students who admitted for MBBS in Tamil Nadu further slipped to five. In 2019, only two such students were admitted into MBBS programs in Tamil Nadu.