Vice-chancellors of India’s 40 central universities on Wednesday agreed “in principle” to use a common aptitude test combined with marks in the Class XII qualifying examinations to admit undergraduate students, despite a panel of VCs emphasising admission autonomy.
But the new admission mechanism for the central universities — which human resource development minister Kapil Sibal said could be in place by next year — may not be accepted easily by all varsities, government officials conceded.
Some VCs also admitted to HT that they harboured reservations about the acceptability of the admissions mechanism to all stakeholders at their universities. “It is one thing for us to nod our heads and agree in a closed-door conference and another for our universities to accept the plan,” one VC said.
A panel of VCs headed by outgoing Jawaharlal Nehru University VC B.B. Bhattacharya had said in its final report that a common entrance test was needed. But it had added that each institution should have the “autonomy” to choose how to admit students, and suggested that the common test be used more as an eligibility test — like the National Eligibility Test conducted by the University Grants Commission — as reported by HT on Tuesday.
“The Bhattacharya panel did not propose any role for the Class XII Board examination marks and instead stressed on a common entrance test. This was not acceptable to several other VCs who felt that a subject-based test would add additional pressure on students,” Sibal told reporters after a meeting with the VCs on Wednesday.
The proposed common aptitude examination will not test subject knowledge but general awareness and critical thinking, Sibal said. Students will not need to appear for multiple entrance examinations and will instead be admitted on the basis of a combination of their board examination marks and scores in the aptitude test, he said.
Each central university will be free to decide the weightage to give to board examination marks and aptitude test scores, Sibal said. But details of how the plan is to be implemented are yet to be worked out.
Asked about possible opposition from within universities like JNU or Delhi University, the HRD minister accepted that the idea could face criticism. “The universities will each finally have to decide whether or not the plan is acceptable to them,” he said.
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal
Proposed common aptitude examination will not test subject knowledge but general awareness and critical
Students will not need to appear for multiple entrance examinations and will instead be admitted on the basis of a combination of their board examination marks and scores in the aptitude test.