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Sharper fall in Girls’ NEET attendance as Covid -19 widens Gender Gap

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The overall attendance rate of NEET 2020 girl candidates dipped this year. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test was held with safety concerns in the light of the Covid -19 pandemic. For the first time in four years, the attendance rate of girls candidates suffered a steep drop this year. Though around 7,48,886 girls took NEET 2020 exam in comparison to around 6,18,075 boys, the overall attendance rate dipped from 92.85% to 85.57 %. However, the gender break up shows the fall is much steeper for girls. The Sunday Express analyzed the data since 2017.

According to the National Testing Agency (NTA). around 86.25 % of boys candidates took NEET 2020 exam, which is 6.38 % points lower than last year. While around 85.02 % of the girls who had registered appeared for NEET 2020 exam this year, which is an 8.01 % point drop since 2019.

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The overall attendance rate of NEET 2020 girl candidates dipped this year.

Female candidates have always registered higher attendance in NEET exam

The Union Government conducts the medical entrance examination for admission to about one lakh MBBS and BDS seats across India on the orders of the Supreme Court. Moreover, according to the attendance data for the years 2017, 2018, 2019; female candidates have always a higher attendance rate than male candidates.

NEET 2020 exam date was controversial

This year, the schedule of the national medical and engineering exam was mired in controversy. A large section of students and parents, demanded the shift in the dates of exams in the view of the rising number of Covid cases and movement restrictions in place across the nation. However, after the dismissal of petitions seeking postponement by the Supreme Court, the examination was conducted as per the schedule on 13th September.

Covid – 19 likely to have hurt most students

The disruption of education because of the covid – 19 pandemic is likely to have hurt most candidates. Also, experts have been warning against a disproportionate impact on females in school and higher studies. The dipping in girls’ attendance for the national medical entrance test NEET 2020 ties in with this warning. However, a senior officer in the National Testing Agency ( NTA) thinks the steeper drop in attendance has more to do with the Board examination results.

” We tried to find out the reasons when we found the fall in overall attendance this year. In pre covid times, candidates used to take the NEET exam before their board examination result. A candidate gets admission to a medical college only if she has scored the minimum percentage required in the class 12 exam. The NEET 2020 was conducted after the board results this year. Students who didn’t clear the board exam properly did not appear for the NEET exam, ” the senior officer told the Sunday Express.

States witness sharper fall in attendance in NEET exam

The officer pointed to more females candidates than male qualifying NEET. The qualification rate for NEET 2020  exam is almost the same as the previous year. Around 57.15 % of the girls who appeared for the exam have qualified the exam. Whereas around 55.58% of the boys have qualified for NEET 2020 exams. The steeper drop in attendance was from states like Gujarat, Kerala, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Mizoram, Assam, Maharashtra, Goa, and West Bengal.

Why Aftab became the topper in NEET exam and not Akanksha?

The results of the NEET 2020 exam were announced on October 1. Soyeb Aftab from Odisha topped the exam scoring 720 marks. As per the NTA website, Akanksha Singh from Delhi also got full marks of 720. But Aftab is considered topper, not Singh. Because he is older. According to the NTA, when students score the same marks, many factors decide the tie-breakers. These factors include the age of students, the number of incorrect answers, and subject wise scores. In the case of two students having similar marks, NTA calculates the ranks on the basis of priority order or marks in individual subjects. Marks in Biology has more priority and afterwards marks in Chemistry. However, marks in Physics have the lowest priority.

Since both Aftab and Singh have similar marks, Aftab got the benefit because of his older age.


NEET Exam, Global Youth Voice, gyv


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