Those looking to change streams would find it hard to attempt subject-specific papers, say aspirants.
A group of students who have just completed Class12 are objecting to the proposal to use a common entrance test for admission to all Central universities, including those such as Delhi University which have used only Class 12 board marks as the criteria so far. The students, who hail from different parts of the country, have written to the Education Ministry and the DU authorities, warning that such a move will favour richer students who have had access to coaching classes or are already preparing for standardised tests such as JEE or NEET.
The National Testing Agency is yet to take a final decision on the scope or the date for the Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET) this year. The test’s multiple choice question papers cover language, general awareness, mathematical aptitude and analytical skills, as well as domain knowledge in the candidate’s chosen subjects.
“Delhi University aspirants were entirely focused towards boards preparation. Since an entrance exam will contain aptitude part, many will face problems dealing with it as it entirely varies from what one has learnt in 10+2,” said one common letter sent by students to the DU Vice-Chancellor, noting that science students may not be prepared for the general knowledge section, while arts and commerce stream students may need time to prepare for the logical reasoning and quantitative ability sections.
“Also, the students who were already preparing for professional degree courses would find it easier as they were already preparing for such a test since grade 11,” it said, noting that lakhs of students do not have the resources to suddenly access online paid coaching classes at this stage. The students also noted that students looking to change streams would find it hard to attempt the subject-specific papers.
Last year, the CUCET was only used for admission to 14 new Central Universities and four State universities. However, earlier this year, the Education Ministry told all Central Universities including older, more prestigious institutions that have so far depended on Class 12 mark cutoffs or their own entrance tests, that CUCET could be expanded to cover them as well in accordance with the National Education Policy recommendations.
The proposal has taken on new urgency since Class 12 examinations were cancelled, with every board issuing its own tabulation formula to assign marks instead. The students suggested that these marks could still be used with different cut-offs for different boards.
Namrata Kalita, a Class 12 student from Assam, sent her own letter, noting that students from the northeast who attempt to enter the Central Universities would be particularly affected. “The CUCET has no clarification so far, no pattern, no syllabus, no previous year questions to practice. Although it was proposed under NEP-2020, the authorities never gave any official announcement regarding its implementation. For a national level entrance, we need adequate time and space to prepare which is absent in the current situation,” she wrote, adding that letters have been sent to the Education Ministry and the admissions authorities at the DU.
She argued that the same health and digital divide concerns which led to the cancellation of Class 12 exams should apply to CUCET as well in a pandemic year. “The CUCET is perhaps a good initiative but it’s not right to conduct it suddenly in this unprecedented year without informing about it earlier. Holding another set of exams would further delay our session and waste our entire year keeping us under constant foreboding. We have faith in the Education Ministry and the varsities that they would listen to the students’ concerns,” she wrote.
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