Central University Entrance Test: Benefits and Concerns:
University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced the introduction of the Central University Entrance Test (CUET), which is now mandatory for undergraduate admission at any of the 45 central universities in the country.
- Several governments, over the years, have made attempts to replace multiple entrance tests with a single common test. In 2010, the government had launched the Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET) however it failed to gather steam since only 14 central universities had adopted it until last year.
- CUET is a revamped version of CUCET and it is now compulsory for all 45 central universities to adopt it.
- The National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts entrance tests such as JEE (Main) and UGC-NET, will also conduct CUET for all central universities.
- A student’s Board marks will have no role in determining her admission to a college or a programme. Admission will be based only on her CUET score.
- Universities can use Board marks as the minimum eligibility criteria for admission though.
- It will be a 3.5 hours computer-based test that will be held in two shifts and can be taken in 13 languages.
- The test will have 3 parts:
- At the moment, CUET has been made compulsory for central universities but the government is open to other institutions, including private universities, adopting this examination instead of conducting their own.
- Further, conducting admissions to postgraduate programmes through CUET is not compulsory for central universities.
The government did not favor using Board marks for admission because of the ‘diversity’ in evaluation methods adopted by different Boards. Some Boards like CBSE are more generous.
The current pattern has led to generation of unrealistic cutoffs.
It would give students another opportunity to show their potential even if they are unable to score well in board examinations.
During the pandemic, many schools awarded marks in an arbitrary manner or inflated the marks of their students. In such a situation, the 12th marks don’t show a true picture.
Easing of Burden: The students need to give just one entrance test rather than multiple entrances
CUET will result in additional expenditure towards coaching. This would put financial strain on the marginalized section.
With CUET in place, students might pay less attention to 12th class syllabus and school learning. They would focus on CUET and may even start skipping their regular classes.
The new system will curtail the autonomy of institutions to respond to ground realities. Cut-offs are decided so as to have desired over-admission to ensure that seats do not go empty after closure of admission process.
CUET can be taken in 13 languages but experts have expressed concerns over the quality of content that would be provided in vernacular languages versus English.
- There should be a minimum weightage of 12th marks so that students don’t completely ignore their board examinations for CUET.
- Teachers of government schools should give additional classes to students for preparing for CUET. This would reduce the financial burden of marginalized sections.
- The government should give extra funds for spending on education so that more computer labs are built for conducting CUET.
- A provision of common counseling sessions for CUET students in the future to ease the admission process as is done in the JEE(Main) entrance test.
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