Tribal students from Maharashtra’s remote villages have scripted success in this year’s NEET 2021. Many tribal students from Gadchiroli and Melghat districts have passed the recently conducted National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) 2021 and would soon join the medical colleges for undergraduate degree courses in medicine.
Suraj Pungati (19), a native of Gadchiroli’s Nagargunda village is ecstatic by his own performance as it was beyond his expectations; he scored 378 out of 720 in NEET. He told to PTI that he would be the first person from his village to attend the medical education. He belongs from a poor farmer family and would be the first one to pursue the science stream and is elated that now he can fulfil his dream of becoming a doctor.
He has been a brilliant student throughout his academics by securing 92 % marks in high school board exams in 2019. Another trailblazer Sawan Shilaskar (21) from a small village Ghota in Melghat region of Amaravati district, also from a marginal farming family has achieved 294 score out of 720 in NEET.
The journey for both the students has not been easy because of the limited resources, but as it’s said there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. An NGO called Lift For Upliftment (LFU) has been organising free coaching classes run by MBBS students and doctors in Pune. The NGO teaches underprivileged and marginalised students who cannot afford costly private tuitions.
Due to pandemic, many students were compelled to shift to online learning from an ashram school in Gadchiroli because of the inaccessibility to internet connections in the village. Sawan came to know about this free coaching from his seniors and was guided by the LFU mentors via online. He prepared for NEET most of the time from his village only due to pandemic.
Most of the faculty and mentors at LFU are senior MBBS students. Every year many students from the NGO clear NEET, including a few from tribal communities of Maharashtra. Many of the LFU pass outs are now studying in medical colleges.