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Common entrance test or board exam results? DU prepares for all outcomes

Even as a decision on the conduct of a common entrance test for all central universities remains pending, Delhi University’s computer centre (DUCC) officials said their team would require two to three months to develop a new admissions portal, in case the entrance test is introduced this year
By Kainat Sarfaraz, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 28, 2021 11:46 PM IST

Even as a decision on the conduct of a common entrance test for all central universities remains pending, Delhi University’s computer centre (DUCC) officials said their team would require two to three months to develop a new admissions portal, in case the entrance test is introduced this year.

With the second wave of the pandemic causing a delay in class 12 exams of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) as well as other state boards, DU is awaiting a final decision from the ministry on the common entrance test, which will also be dependent on how class 12 students are being evaluated this year.

“We cannot develop a portal or test it as we have no idea what kind of function would be required of it,” said Sanjeev Singh, joint director at DUCC.

Apart from the uncertainty over the exam situation, two of the five core developers in Singh’s team are recovering from Covid-19. “Once all our team members are back to work, it should take about eight to 12 weeks to create the admissions portal,” he said.

Last December, the Union ministry of education had formed a committee to look into the modalities of a common entrance test for undergraduate courses at all central universities, in accordance with the National Education Policy 2020. The committee has submitted its report and universities are currently waiting for the ministry’s response on it.

Acting vice-chancellor PC Joshi, who is a member of the Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET) committee, said such a test will become necessary if class 12 board exams are not conducted this year. “Delhi University admissions are always dependent upon the board exam results. If class 12 board exams are not conducted, we will have to conduct the CUCET to ensure that admissions are made without compromising on quality and merit,” he said.

Delhi University, which has been conducting merit-based admissions for a majority of its undergraduate courses, has held multiple deliberations on how the university would adopt the entrance test.

“We have discussed things at our level and the admissions committee has prepared itself for possible scenarios. We will also hold sessions to counsel students on the new admission process so that they don’t face any inconvenience or stress,” Joshi said.

Since CUCET would be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), which currently conducts the entrance tests for nine undergraduate courses at DU, the university will have to tie up with the testing agency to facilitate the admission process.

“We have been doing whiteboarding because we will be creating an entirely new portal for admissions this time. So we need to have some ideas ready so that as soon as we have a decision on the policy, we can go ahead with the project,” said Singh.

Last year, the DU had developed a website for online open-book examination (OBE) in three months. “There is a difference between designing a portal for exams and admissions. For exams, we know we have a set number of students using the portal. That is not the case with admissions -- we don’t have an idea on how many students will register. We have to keep all those factors in mind while developing a portal,” he said.

Former dean (admissions) Shobha Bagai said DU will have to look into the modalities of the common entrance test. “Various matters have to be decided apart from the weightage to be awarded for the entrance test and board exam results. For instance, what if students were opting for a stream change, then what kind of test would they opt for? If CUCET is to be implemented, university officials would also need to think about all possible scenarios and make policy decisions on them,” she said.

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