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Onus on universities for seamless rollout of CUET 2023

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By Sidharth Mishra

We are into the second month of the year, the board examinations have begun and so has the discussion for admission into the universities and the colleges. For the past few days’ different universities specially the Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University have come out with certain announcements on the admission process.

 “For admission to the University of Delhi, it is mandatory for the candidates to appear in CUET- UG in those subjects in which the student appearing or passed class 12th,” a notification of Delhi University has stated. AMU and Jamia have expressed certain apprehensions and reservations. 

These broadcasts have followed the statement by the chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), Prof M Jagadesh Kumar that all the graduate admissions in the centrally-funded universities should be done through Common Universities Entrance Test (CUET). “A single examination enables the candidates to cover a broad outreach and be part of the admission process to various central and participating universities,” Kumar has said.

This examination, earlier went by the name of Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET), is an all-India test being organized by National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to various Undergraduate, Integrated, Postgraduate, Diploma, Certification courses and Research Programmes in 45 Central Universities of India. It is also accepted by number of other State Universities and Deemed universities in India.

The National Testing Agency took over the conduct of these exams in 2021. In 2022, as a part of National Education Policy 2020, CUET was introduced as revamped version of CUCET making it compulsory for all 43 central universities to adopt it. It goes without saying that during the launch year, the examination had many a hiccups and the admission process for the academic session 2022-23 went beyond December 2022, in some instances even into January 2023.

This was largely attributed to the country returning to normalcy after two years of Covid lockdowns and shut downs. However, it was also realised that there wasn’t sufficient infrastructure available in the government sector to hold a computer based examination at such a massive scale. Institutions in the private sector were drafted and they helped save the situation. Having learnt lessons from the 2022 experience, one believes that the NTA must have taken adequate steps to let the embarrassments not return.

The NTA has announced that the second edition of the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) will be conducted from May 21 to 31. This should give sufficient time to the various universities to complete their admission process and start session on time that is sometime in mid-July. Thanks to Covid-spurred disruptions, the academic sessions across the nation has gone haywire. 

Having spoken about the hiccups, one can have a look at the brighter side of the examination. It brought uniformity in the marking standards for the admission. Delhi University in particular, which had been plagued by admissions by students from a particularly liberal state board, through the CUET was somewhat able to rebuild the national mosaic in the profile of the students.

Admission through entrance examination has also helped restore sanity in the admission under the other backward classes’ category, where a large number of students took admission just for the sake of contesting Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections and then leave. A DU study in this regard was done a few years ago.

As mentioned earlier, the onus would be as much on the leading campuses like Delhi University to complete the admission process on time. Delay at their end has a cascading effect and mars admission process across the country, on which the smaller and lesser known universities have no control. 

(The writer is Author and President, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice)  


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