"NCERT no longer professional institution," Congress' Jairam Ramesh lashes out after NTA blames NCERT for NEET 2024 row

NEW DELHI: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Monday criticized the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and said it was "no longer a professional institution" but a political tool for the ruling party.

The comments by the Congress' General Secretary in-charge-of Communications were made in the wake of the National Testing Agency putting the blame on NCERT for the "grace marks" fiasco in the 2024 examinations of National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical colleges.

Jairam Ramesh said that the blame game only served as the NTA's effort to draw attention away from its own "abject failures."

"However, it is true that the NCERT is no longer a professional institution. It has been functioning as an RSS affiliate since 2014. It has just been revealed that its revised Class XI political science textbook criticises the idea of secularism as well as what it considers policies of political parties in this regard," he said in a post on X.

The Congress Rajya Sabha MP said, "NCERT's objective is to produce textbooks, not political pamphlets and propaganda NCERT is mounting an assault on our country's Constitution in whose Preamble secularism features explicitly as a foundational pillar of the Indian republic. Various Supreme Court judgments have clearly held secularism to be an essential part of the basic structure of the Constitution."

Further, he mocked NCERT stating that it "needs to remind itself that it the National Council for Educational Research and Training, not the Nagpur or Narendra Council for Educational Research and Training."

"All of its textbooks are now of dubious quality vastly different from those that shaped me in school," he said.

On Sunday too, the Congress leader had addressed concerns about NEET's fairness and transparency.

He noted that during his time on the Parliament's Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare (2014-2019), there was broad support for NEET, though some MPs, particularly from Tamil Nadu, were worried it would disadvantage students from non-CBSE schools.

Ramesh called for a proper analysis of whether NEET is discriminatory and if students from poorer backgrounds are being denied opportunities. He also highlighted concerns about the integrity of the NTA and the way NEET is designed and administered. He expressed hope that the new Parliamentary Standing Committees would prioritize a comprehensive review of NEET, NTA, and NCERT.

Meanwhile, students across the country have protested the issues surrounding the 2024 NEET-UG exam, including reported paper leaks and the allocation of 'grace marks'. The NTA announced that the scorecards of 1,563 candidates who received 'grace marks' would be cancelled, and these candidates would have the chance to retake the exam on June 23, with results expected by June 30.

Several petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking to recall the NEET-UG 2024 results and conduct a fresh examination due to alleged paper leakage and malpractices during the May 5 exam.


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