Academics claims students would have needed time to understand the new syllabus and prepare for the entrance exam.
With the University Grants Commission (UGC) announcing that Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET) may be implemented from the academic session 2022-23 session owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the preparatory time required to conduct a test and the need to start the new academic session without much delay, UG admissions at the central universities will now be largely pegged on the board results where the different grading systems of various boards may not ensure uniformity in assessments, stakeholders claim.
Commenting on the recent announcement, RP Tiwari, vice chancellor, Central University of Punjab who was also chairman of the Committee that was formed to provide guidelines for conducting CUCET in 2021-22 for all undergraduate courses at central universities, says, “Though the ministry of education had in the past announced that the admission to the universities will be based on CUCET, given the enormity of the health crisis and consequent logistical issues, implementation of the examination may have been a challenge. It would have involved setting massive number of question papers for both UG and PG admissions post the second Covid wave.”
“The CUCET committee had in the past recommended that 50% weightage be given to the normalised board results and 50% to CUCET, which would have helped students seeking admission to the UG programmes. But given the current scenario, where digital divide has created disruptions in the teaching-learning process, quality of education has been hampered. Conducting CUCET is, therefore, not an option for the 2021-22 session for all UG admissions,” he adds.
As per the UGC notification, admission process in all central universities during academic session 2021-22 may continue as per past practice.. “While some universities are conducting admissions based on marks, there are others who have their own entrance exams. There is still a third category—a consortium of 13 universities of which 12 are central universities—that were conducting UG, PG and PhD admissions based on CUCET until last year. This last category is still in the process of deciding on the admission process,” Tiwari explains.
Acting vice chancellor of the University of Delhi (DU) PC Joshi, believes that CUCET this year would have raised students’ stress levels. “They would have needed time to prepare for the entrance exam and even the syllabus would have been new. By 2022-23, they would have sufficient time to attempt the exam which would then become an important component of the admission process. Currently, we have to conduct merit-based admissions due to the commencement of the new session in October whether online or offline. Conducting CUCET at this juncture would have jeopardised the prospects of many students.”
While NTA is going to conduct Delhi University Entrance Test (DUET) for 13 subjects, up from nine subjects as compared to last year at the UG level, admission to the remaining courses will be marks-based, converted into percentage.
Highlighting that the majority of the students at DU are from CBSE board where the 40: 30: 30 assessment criteria was evolved, Joshi says, “We do not interfere in CBSE’s marking scheme or that of other state boards as we have no reasons to doubt their evaluation process. Should there be any deviations from the norm, a standing committee and an admission committee will address the issue.”
He also dismisses the notion that high cut-offs may not create a level playing field, more so for students from the state boards. “DU’s well-defined admission criteria ensures we get the cream of the students; that was the case last year when the pandemic hit, and we expect the trend to continue this year as well,” Joshi adds.
Centre-based online exam to bring parity
On a different note, Harish Chandra Singh Rathore, VC, Central University of South Bihar (CUSB) says, “Going by UGC directive that lays emphasis on admissions as per past practice, the Consortium of 13 universities will soon take a call regarding the conduct of a national level online entrance exam for the participating universities of the Consortium. Since we were already conducting CUCET, plans are on to work out the feasibility factors, the nodal agency that might conduct the exam and logistical arrangements including the likelihood of a centre-based exam to give equal opportunities to the rural students who may not have laptops/computers to attempt an online entrance exam.”
Courtesy – THE TIMES OF INDIA