A controversy has erupted over the issue of National Testing Agency (NTA), the premier agency that conducts entrance examinations for higher educational institutions, awarding higher rank to a candidate from Odisha and downranking another girl from Delhi to the second position despite both of them securing a perfect score in the result of 2020 NEET examination.
In a first, two candidates have scored full marks in medical entrance exam NEET. In the results which were declared on Friday night, Odisha’s Soyeb Aftab and Akanksha Singh from Delhi have secured 720 out of 720 marks.
However, the NTA awarded the first rank to Aftab while Akanksha Singh was given the second rank, which has now led to a massive debate on the social media platforms questioning the rationale behind such decision. Interestingly, both the candidates are from the unreserved category and have scored identical marks in all the four subjects.
NTA has a tie-breaking policy
The National Testing Agency has developed a tie-breaker policy which will be applicable during such a tie-breaking situation. This policy has been designed to shortlist and rank applicants based on their performance and basic eligibility.
Clarifying on the issue, a senior official of the NTA explained, as per NTA’s tie-breaking rules, when two candidates secure the same marks, their ranks are determined based on their scores obtained in Biology and Chemistry.
In cases where the rankings for the candidates cannot be assigned using the relative scores obtained in the examination, the candidates are further shortlisted taking into consideration the number of answers that are incorrect.
As Aftab and Akanksha have scored a perfect score in the NEET exam, the question of comparison of their marks does not arise. In such cases, the NTA chooses the criteria of difference in the age between candidates to assign ranks to them. Candidates who are older in age will be given preference over the younger ones.
Here is a NTa rule that explains how age criteria is considered to allot ranks for the candidates in the NEET exam.
Hence, in this case, reportedly it is because of the age criterion that 18-year-old Soyeb Aftab has been ranked at first position as he is slightly older than Akanksha Singh after the NEET 2020 result was declared.
This year NEET exam was conducted on September 13 amidst strict precautions in view of the coronavirus pandemic. More than 15.97 lakh students had registered for the entrance test. A total of 7,71,500 students had qualified for the test.
Over 15.9 lakh candidates had registered for the highly competitive entrance exam, to secure admissions to medical colleges, and over 13.6 lakh had appeared for the exam. A majority of the candidates, over 8.8 lakh, was women.
Among the candidates who qualified, 3.59 lakh belonged to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 98,809 to Scheduled Castes (SCs), 33,848 to Scheduled Tribes (STs), and 2.21 lakh to the unreserved category. From the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), 57,444 cleared the NEET, as did 2,137 persons with disabilities (PwD).
The entrance exam was conducted in 11 Indian languages including English. Of the total number of students, 79.08 per cent had taken up the entrance test in English, while 12.80 per cent took in Hindi.