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Common Admission Test For Central Universities – The Big Picture – RSTV IAS UPSC

  • IASbaba
  • March 10, 2021
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The Big Picture- RSTV
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TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education

In News: The UGC had set up a seven-member committee to consider the prospects of holding a common entrance test for admissions to undergraduate level from the upcoming academic year at all Central universities to provide students and institutes a common platform.

If the suggestion for a centralized entrance exam is materialized, the National Testing Agency will bear the responsibility of conducting a common aptitude test and a common exam for a discipline at least twice a year for admission to Central universities.

This computer-based common entrance exam, to be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), will be mandatory for admission to all central universities. 

The Reason Behind

The decision has been taken to end the tyranny of cut-off marks based on Class XII Board and to tackle the difficulty in UG admission process due to difference in evaluation scheme of various Boards. Usually, the higher-scoring science stream students get an edge in admissions to these universities, however, the new aptitude test will provide a common ground for everyone.

At present, there is no common admission test for undergraduate courses in the general stream. Most universities admit students based on their Class XII marks, while central universities hold entrance test for some of the courses.

The New Education policy rules in the favour of reducing entrance exams for admission to colleges to eliminate the mushrooming of coaching institutes for preparing students taking these competitive exams. The NEP 2020 had recommended a national common aptitude entrance test to be conducted by the National Testing Agency twice a year. However, in the upcoming year, the entrance will be held one time a year.

The endeavour is in line with the National Education Policy’s stress on conceptual understanding, where individual interests and talent get primacy during admissions and marks in Board exams alone are not a barometer of knowledge and intelligence. Those who have a better grasp of the subject and a greater grounding in the basics are likely to have an advantage. While minimising the stakes of the Class XII exams and the need for coaching classes, the focus is to be on the holistic growth of students. Another aim of the policy is to remove the strict compartmentalisation of Arts, Science and Commerce, so that students can choose subjects based on their interests. The activation and standardisation of the proposals will take time, but these are in the right direction. The formalisation of a SAT-like module that disincentivises rote learning is a much-required change.

The plan to hold one exam for admission will also take care of the issue of different boards having varied curriculum and evaluation patterns, and the resultant discrepancies. If what is conceptualised falls in place, a university will be able to see every student’s individual subject portfolio and decide on admissions based on aptitude, absorption and curiosity — the essential ingredients of meaningful education.

Connecting the dots:

  1. Criticism of Board Examination System
  2. What are the key features of the New Education Policy (NEP)? What are your thoughts on NEP? Discuss. 
  3. Happiness classes by Delhi’s Educational Board

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