In what marks the first attempt, after the introduction of the new National Education Policy, at moving away from unrealistic cut-off marks for admissions to universities, the government is exploring the feasibility of holding a common entrance test for undergraduate admissions across all central universities from the next academic year.
The UGC set up a seven-member committee on December 23, headed by Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Punjab R P Tiwari, “to consider the issue (of) holding common entrance test at undergraduate level only from the next academic year in central universities to provide a single platform for admission”.
The new NEP, released in July this year, advocates reducing the number of entrance tests to “eliminate the need for taking coaching for these exams”.
There are 40-odd central universities run by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and, collectively, all of them have about 1 to 1.25 lakh seats across different disciplines at the undergraduate level, said a ministry officer. Of these, currently about 16 central universities, all set up under the UPA-II government, have a common entrance test for Bachelor’s study.
If the NEP suggestion is implemented, the National Testing Agency will be tasked to conduct a common aptitude test as well as specialised common exams for different disciplines at least twice a year, for admission to bachelor’s in central universities.
“Conducting a common entrance test seems simple but there are several intricacies. For instance, given the range of subjects offered across central universities, this committee will have to identify the disciplines for which separate tests will be needed. We expect a report by January and hope to take a decision by March 2021. The attempt is to have a common entrance test for the next session starting in August,” said Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare.
Principal of DAV Public School, Pushpanjali Enclave, Rashmi Biswal said while a joint entrance test was a good idea, a sensitive area would be streamlining the exam curriculum for all students. Director of Ahlcon group of schools Ashok Pandey said moving towards a joint entrance exam might encourage more multiculturalism.