From Agnipath to no age cap in NEET: Events that define education in 2022
Year Recap 2022: From Agnipath scheme to removal of upper age limit in medical entrance test NEET – these are the most important events in education that took place in 2022.
In 2022, Education and Career fronts were full of defining news which will impact lakhs of students, job seekers in the upcoming years.
With the end of Covid-related disruptions, the implementation process of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 finally geared up, with the University Grants Commission (UGC) announcing a common entrance test for university admissions and a new framework for obtaining undergraduate degrees, among others.
Apart from NEP implementation, major announcements on recruitment processes, entrance examinations and two Supreme Court verdicts on the reservation system in the country made headlines.
From Agnipath scheme to removal of upper age limit in medical entrance test NEET – these are the most important events in education that took place in 2022.
Supreme Court upholds centre’s OBC, EWS quotas
In the beginning of 2022, the Supreme Court of India pronounced its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging a notification by the central government regarding OBC and EWS reservation. The centre on July 29, 2021 notified that provisions of 27% OBC and 10% EWS reservation will be extended to all postgraduate and undergraduate medical seats that come under the central pool. The court case stalled the admission process of NEET UG and PG for months.
On January 7, 2022, a bench of justices DY Chandrachud (now the Chief Justice of India) and AS Bopanna upheld OBC reservation and allowed EWS reservation for the current year, stating the final hearing will be at a later state.
Finally, in November, the top court backed the EWS quota after a marathon hearing. A five-bench Constitution bench of the Supreme Court delivered the judgment backing EWS reservation by a 3:2 majority view.
Agnipath Scheme for recruitment to the armed forces
On June 14, the centre announced ‘Agnipath’, a new scheme intended to replace the legacy system of recruitment to the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy. Called Agniveers, these young personnel will be recruited for a period of 4 years, with provision of permanent recruitment for some, it said.
Violent protests erupted across the country, especially in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh soon after the announcement of the new scheme. Protesting military services aspirants demanded the centre to scrap the scheme saying it does not provide pensionary benefits, job guarantee as the tenure of service under Agnipath is just 4 years with a provision of 25% absorption to permanent posts.
Despite protests, the centre did roll out Agnipath and recruitment under this new scheme is going on.
No upper age limit for NEET-UG
In March, National Medical Commission, the top regulatory body of medical education in India announced that the upper age limit for appearing in NEET-UG, has been removed for all candidates. Till then, the age limit was 25 years for general category candidates and 30 years for reserved category candidates.
Implemented in 2022 for the first time, NEET saw an increase in the number of applicants after removal of the upper age limit (18,72,343 in 2022 compared to 16,14,777 in 2021). However, neither NTA, who conducts the exam or NMC have made any comments on why the number has increased this year.
CBSE, CISCE hold 2-term final exams
After two years of Covid that disrupted school activities and board exams, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducted the 2022 edition of Class 10 and 12 final exams in two terms – the first one in November-December and the second one in April May. This, according to CBSE, was done to ensure that there is at least one exam conducted by the board which can be used for preparing results. Another central board, CISCE also used this two term or two semester system for the 2022 edition of ICSE (Class 10) and ISC (Class 12) board exams. Some other state boards had implemented this system as well.
With improvement in the COVID-19 situation, both CBSE and CISCE have decided to roll back the two-term exam system and go back to the conventional practice of holding one final exam at the end of an academic year.
CUET – Common entrance test for university admissions
In March, UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar announced CUET – a common entrance test for undergraduate and postgraduate courses at universities. Envisioned in NEP 2020, CUET was made mandatory for admission to all central universities for undergraduate courses, with provision for other universities to use the test.
A total of 14,90,000 candidates had registered for the examination that witnessed 60% consolidated attendance in all six phases and as many as 8,236 students scored 100 percentile in the test.
The debut edition of CUET was surrounded by controversies – mismatch in exam centre details, technical glitches during exams, among others. The process of normalisation of marks in the exam was also not lucid enough for many aspirants.
New UGC rules for obtaining UG degree
In December, UGC announced new norms for obtaining undergraduate degrees according to which students have to study for four years, not three, in order to get an UG ‘honours’ degree. However, the ongoing system of 3 year honours degree will continue till the new framework is fully implemented.
Under this new framework called 'Curriculum and credit framework for four-year undergraduate programmes', students will get a UG degree in three years on completion of 120 credits and a UG honours degree in four years on completion of 160 credits. The multiple entry-exit feature of these regulations will also allow students to leave with a certificate after completing one year and with a diploma after 2 years. They can come back within a given time and complete the full degree course.