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NTA announces NEET exam centres in the Gulf and beyond

Dubai: Indian expat students in the UAE and other Gulf countries preparing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) have received a significant boost as new centres are allocated in foreign cities. The Indian Consulate in Dubai announced the allocation of three exam centres for this year's medical entrance exam. NEET, the sole gateway for undergraduate medical courses in India, is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) under India's Ministry of Education.

According to the Indian consulate, the NTA has expanded its list of examination cities for international students by including 14 foreign cities. Apart from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, candidates can now choose examination centres in countries including Qatar (Doha), Kuwait (Kuwait City), Oman (Muscat), Saudi Arabia (Riyadh), Bahrain (Manama) and other Gulf nations. NEET exam centres are also available in countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore.

More than a thousand expat students residing in the UAE are expected to sit for the NEET exam scheduled for May 2024. The decision to include foreign centres comes after concerns were raised by students and schools regarding the earlier decision not to have overseas centres for the 2024 NEET exam. These concerns cited added stress, expenses and inconvenience for students.

NTA's recent move addresses these concerns by providing flexibility for candidates who had already selected exam centres in India and paid the fee. They now have the option to correct their centre and country choices during the application correction window. But a differential fee will be applicable for changing centres to foreign cities.

Registration for the NEET exam is ongoing, with candidates able to register on the official website until March 9th. Those registering from foreign countries can directly select their preferred country and city during application. Fresh registrations from foreign countries require payment of the requisite fee and the application submission.

This development follows a series of efforts initiated in 2021 when the Indian ministry allowed a NEET centre in the UAE in response to petitions from Indian expat students stranded due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The Indian Consulate in Dubai advocated for increasing the number of NEET centres in the UAE, leading to this year's expanded list of examination cities.

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