The University Grants Commission’s announcement to conduct a common university entrance test (CUET) from the 2022-2023 academic year for admissions to undergraduate courses to all central universities has attracted widespread criticism from educationalists across the spectrum. They said the exam is likely to completely isolate students from down-trodden communities and rural backgrounds from getting a chance in higher education.
“This is a great blow to students from such sections of the society who aspire for higher education and such an exam can even be considered undemocratic. This type of exam is going to favour only the upper class and the rich and lead to students of down-trodden communities being unable to enter quality educational institutions. At a time when we want to encourage as many students as possible to take up higher education, this is highly troubling,” said Dr R Murali, secretary, Save Higher Education Movement, Tamil Nadu (SHE-TN).
Educationalists also noted that the exam will lead to mushrooming of private coaching centres, which will once again lead to exploitation of poor parents. “An entrance exam at UG level is not necessary at all, especially for arts and science courses. Each student is different and not everyone’s abilities can be judged based on a single entrance test that happens on one day. Private coaching centres will be the only ones to benefit out of it. The government should take steps to try to bring access to higher education to the doorstep of rural and poor students and focus on inclusive education rather than such policies, which is likely to promote discrimination,” said M Nagarajan, general secretary, Madurai Kamaraj, Manonmaniam Sundaranar, Mother Teresa and Alagappa University Teachers’ Association (MUTA).
While school teachers observed that such a competitive exam can be useful to push students to grasp concepts better as otherwise they won’t be able to answer the questions, they are also equally concerned as the system of CUET completely ignores Class XII board exam scores. “No parent or child will take the board exams seriously anymore, which would be unfortunate. Further, ignoring all state boards and CUET being based on NCERT syllabus alone is unfair to state board students. It is in a way a backdoor imposition of NCERT. At least entrance exam scores along with normalized board exam scores could have been a better criterion,” said Jayendran Mani, correspondent, Sri Jayendra Group of Educational Institutions.
Courtesy : Times of India