K’taka pupils hold mixed opinion on test for central universities

College Education Karnataka Opinion Student

Many say UGC mandate will bring relief

Tension is written on the faces of students sitting in front of computer screens with MCQs. The pressure of scoring good grades is clearly visible as they look at the clock at regular intervals. Their parents stand outside, waiting for them to narrate how it went. Such is the scene at every exam centre during entrance examinations.

The results of these examinations help to decide whether one is admitted into a college or not.

On March 28, 2022, the University Grants Commission (UGC) made it mandatory for all the 45 Central universities to admit students to undergraduate programmes from 2022-23 based on scores obtained in the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). This does away with marks obtained in class 12 board exams.

Karnataka students have mixed views on the UGC decision. Some say CUET will be beneficial for students, while others argue everybody should have been consulted before making the decision.

Amisha Patel, a student, informed The Observer: “I think CUET will be beneficial as most students today want to get admitted to Delhi University. However, the high cut-offs are unfair. Through this exam, students belonging to the general category won’t have to score 90 per cent or above to seek admission.”

Another student, Raghav Chandra, has similar views. “Board exams are based on how much one can memorize. They don’t really test a student’s knowledge or true potential. In CBSE exams, one has to scan the entire NCERT textbook. CUET will be a much-awaited relief.”

But some students seemed skeptical of CUET. Raunak Sharma, a student said: “I think CBSE students will benefit more from this move. But what about other students who don’t read NCERT books? What about other boards like ICSE or the state boards? Everybody should have been consulted.”

Teachers believe that CUET will add to the stress and pressure of students preparing for their class 12 board exams.

Sabiya Imtiyaz, a teacher, said: “I don’t think CUET is beneficial for students applying for a UG course. It’ll only cause more stress. The pandemic has disrupted the education system and impacted both students as well as their parents. The UGC should keep the present scenario in mind before recommending any changes.”

Parents believe CUET will help create equal opportunities for all. Shruti Sharma, a parent, shared: “We’re aware of the problems associated with board results. Good students often score less. Some students get additional benefits like grace marks. In certain states, cheating is prevalent during exams, which results in higher scores. CUET will enable equal competition….”

Coaching centres are also planning to impart coaching for CUET.

Yamuna N., who runs Educare Coaching Centre, said: “I am looking forward to CUET. My daughter has given her class 12 board exams. She wants to go to Delhi University. It’ll be easier for us if there’s a single exam for admission to all central universities as we are from a different state. It’ll also mean equal opportunities for all.”

Abhilash Singh, a co-trustee of Little Seeds Education, an NGO, said CUET will benefit students of Karnataka because they anyway study the NCERT course for two years. “So they’ll already be prepared for the exam. They don’t have to do any extra studies like in other entrance exams. They can also choose a subject according to the domain they’re interested in. There’ll also be GK. It’s a good decision overall.”

Archana Gavaksh, founder and president, Gavaksh Window to Happiness, an education NGO, said she supports the UGC’s decision.

CUET is a computer-based test that will be conducted by NTA in the first week of July based on the NCERT syllabus for class 12. All admissions to undergraduate courses at Central universities funded by UGC will mandatorily be based on CUET scores from 2022-23. Other universities are free to use CUET scores for their admissions. Technical courses already using Joint Entrance Examinations are exempted, but skill-based professional courses like Music, Art, Theatre and Fine Arts can use a combination of CUET scores along with an interview or practical test.

Class 12 board examination scores can still be used as minimum qualifying marks.

The National Education Policy, 2020, proposed CUET as a way of ensuring uniform quality while reducing the cost and efforts of stakeholders.

chhavi.v@iijnm.org

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