Change in CET admission criteria starting 2023-24 invites mixed reactions
Pune A day after the state higher education department minister Uday Samant announced the state’s plan to give equal weightage to Class 12 marks and the state common entrance test (CET) score for admissions to various undergraduate professional courses, beginning from the 2023-24 academic year, students sought clarity on how parity would be maintained between the different education boards as well as subject streams in the consideration of board examination marks.
On Tuesday Samant said that admissions to courses like engineering, pharmacy as well as agricultural courses that depend on CET scores, will now take Class 12 marks into account as well, as the number of students appearing for their final board examinations had declined.
“The decision is taken to ensure that students take their class 12 board exams seriously. However, even before the CET exams were held and admissions took place solely on class 12 marks, students did not take this exam. Even today, they are more focused on private classes to score marks in both board exams and the CET exams,” Vasant Kalpande, education expert and former chairperson of Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) said.
Few years ago, national-level entrance exams gave weightage to class 12 marks and higher weightage to scores in entrance tests. This rule was dropped after students from various boards complained about the lack of parity as scores varied across all boards — state, CBSE and ICSE — which led the state to eventually give 100% weightage to entrance test scores only.
“According to statistics, the percentage of students scoring above 90% in class 12 is more in other boards compared to the state board,” Kalpande said.
Samant further said that the state was also considering the option of allowing students to appear for the CET exam a second time if they scored less marks in their first attempt.
In 2012, when Prithviraj Chavan was the state chief minister, a similar system of equal weightage to CET and Class 12 scores was started on a trial basis. However, it was discontinued after a year as it attracted criticism from teachers, parents and students.
This time too, students have shared their displeasure and said the move would add to the pressure on them as they would now be required to score well in all exams.
“Next year I will end up preparing for class 12 students and CET exam as well as Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) exam, and the expectation will be to do well in each of these exams. By focussing only on entrance exams, the government was sparing us the stress of scoring very well in all exams but now, we will have no choice but to spend the next one year only studying and not doing anything else,” said Shruti Mhatre, a Class 12 student who will appear for the CET next year.
However, a few associations welcomed the move.
“We welcome this decision of the state government to give a fair chance to students, especially from rural areas, to get admission in good colleges. Students in rural areas always focus on Class 12 board exams as they cannot afford to pay high fees of private classes to prepare for CET exams. This decision will change help such candidates,” said Ramdas Zol, president of the Association of the Management of Unaided Institutes in Rural Areas.
(With inputs from Shreya Bhandary)
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