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Only 0.6% of those who take the All India Pre-Medical Entrance Test crack it. That's an unbelievably high-stakes game, for a mindboggling 99.4% fail to crack the exam.
Over 6.3 lakh students took this year's test. The total number of MBBS seats in the country is around 52,300. Government colleges have a little under 25,000 seats. The all-India quota is 15% of these, excluding institutions like AIIMS and JIPMER.
Therefore, lakhs vie for around 3,700 seats. That's where the 0.6% success rate comes in. Even if all 52,000 seats were up for grabs, only 8% aspirants would make it. With such a huge demand-supply skew, many parents and students are often desperate to adopt fair and foul means to grab a seat and rackets have sprung up over the years tapping this desperation.
In the government sector, 183 colleges have less than 25,000 seats. Government medical college seats are coveted for offering education at highly subsidised rates, costing between Rs 25,000 and Rs 75,000 for the four-and-a-half year course, and most of these colleges offer better education. The private sector offers just 19,000 seats, if we leave out management quota (approximately 30% of seats), which are sold for Rs 55 lakh and Rs 80 lakh.
Even from these 19,000, thousands are diverted to the management quota to be sold every year for hefty sums. Not only do most private colleges charge between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 40 lakh for the MBBS course, most aren't known for quality of education. With the government for decades not investing enough in starting more medical colleges and increasing number of seats, the private sector is making a killing.
"The astronomical cost of medical education in the private sector is going up, increasing the demand for government medical colleges seats, where entrance exam is the only way to get in. Entrance exams for medical colleges are conducted by most countries, including the US, without regular leaks, as it happens in almost all entrance examinations in India.
There's a need to upgrade tech used in conducting such examinations. Law enforcement is so lax that hardly anyone gets convicted for involvement in leaks," said executive director of the National Board of Examinations, Dr Bipin Batra.
He welcomed the SC judgement which is expected to frame guidelines for every university or board that sets exams.