A proposal to incorporate the engineering and medical entrance exams into the Common University Entrance Test-Undergraduate is being developed by the University Grants Commission (CUET-UG).
M Jagadesh Kumar, chairperson, UGC told that as per the proposal, instead of appearing for the four subjects — physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry — in three entrance exams, students can take the exam once and be eligible for and explore different fields of study. The higher education regulator is working out a committee to deliberate with diverse stakeholders to reach a consensus.
“The proposal is, can we integrate all these entrance examinations so that our students are not subjected to multiple entrance examinations based on the same knowledge base? The students should have one single entrance examination, but multiple opportunities to apply among the disciplines,” said Kumar.
The three major entrance tests in the nation, which are taken by almost 43 lakh hopefuls, are the engineering entrance “Joint Entrance Examination (Main),” the medical entrance “National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Undergraduate,” and now CUET-UG. Most students show up for at least two of these tests, if not all of them. For the JEE (Mains) exam, candidates must take physics, chemistry, and mathematics, while biology is substituted for mathematics in the NEET UG exam. These topics are included in the 61 domain subjects for the CUET-UG.
The objective of the proposal, Kumar said that students should not undergo the stress of multiple examinations while they’re being tested in the same set of subjects.
“Typically, what are the programmes that are available? Some students may like to go into medicine or engineering. If they don’t get into either, many will in general education. So is it possible to have only one CUET for all disciplines? The students who would like to go into engineering their marks in mathematics, chemistry, and physics can be used as a ranking list and similarly for medicine. If they don’t get into medicine or engineering, under CUET they will still have the opportunity to join different programmes using the same marks of either mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and so on. So therefore, by writing once, in these four subjects, students can try for different opportunities.”
The commission is focusing the move from the point of simplifying the logistics for the aspirants as well as the National Testing Agency (NTA).
“The difficulties of setting up the computing facilities in so many centres are the other side. Sometimes, as you have seen in CUET-UG, students are not offered their first choice, forcing them to travel a little further to write than they would have otherwise. It might become considerably simpler from the NTA’s perspective in terms of logistics if you reduce the number of tests. Additionally, unique sets of test questions must be created for JEE, NEET, and CUET. For all of these topics, we can only have one set of exam questions at this time, added Kumar.
UGC is looking at building a consensus via deliberations among the stakeholders for the “single examination” so that candidates can be given the opportunity to write it twice a year. “The first one can happen after the Board exams and another one in, say, December,” Kumar further added.