Centre to hold common test for admission to central varsities
CUCET, which is envisaged in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, was scheduled to start in the 2021-22 academic session, but the government put it on hold in view of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Union government has decided to conduct a common entrance test for admission to all central universities from the coming academic session i.e 2022-23, according to a letter from the University Grants Commission (UGC). The common university entrance test (CUCET) will be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to all undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
CUCET, which is envisaged in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, was scheduled to start in the 2021-22 academic session, but the government put it on hold in view of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. UGC constituted a seven-member committee last year to recommend modalities for CUCET that held several rounds of discussion and submitted its findings in December, people familiar with the matter added on condition of anonymity.
In a letter dated November 26 addressed to the vice-chancellors of all 45 central universities, including Delhi University (DU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), UGC said CUCET will be conducted from academic session 2022-23.
“A meeting was held with the vice-chancellors of all the central universities on 22.11.2021 to discuss the recommendations of the committee (constituted to draw the modalities of CUCET) and for conducting a common entrance test. After detailed deliberations, it was resolved that the common entrance test for undergraduate and postgraduate courses may be conducted for central universities from academic session 2022-23 through NTA,” UGC joint secretary Jitendra K Tripathi said in the letter, a copy of which has been seen by HT.
UGC has advised all central universities to take “appropriate measures” for the conduct of CUCET next year. The Commission has also said that private and deemed universities as well as those run by states can opt for admission through CUCET.
CUCET, a computerized exam, will be conducted in 13 languages: English, Hindi, Gujarati, Assamese, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
While the union ministry of education is yet to finalise the modalities, a member of the committee created to recommend the modalities of the exam, said on condition of anonymity that CUCET will have two components -- an aptitude test and a subject-specific test. “The aptitude part will consist of questions on reading comprehension, verbal ability, logical and analytical reasoning and general awareness. The second part will be subject specific. That means based on questions related to the stream in which the candidate wants to take admission.”
The committee had also recommended allowing universities to use a combination of CUCET and class 12 scores for admission to undergraduate courses, and a single application form for multiple universities. “The committee also recommended that the CUCET should be conducted twice a year,” the member added.
Officials at several universities, including DU and Jamia, confirmed receiving the letter. DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh said: “The university has received the communication from the UGC. We will place this proposal before our statutory bodies, academic council and executive council, and finalise how DU will adopt CUCET.”
DU currently follows the merit-based admission process for admission to all undergraduate programmes excluding nine courses for which NTA conducts entrance exams. NTA also conducts entrance tests for all postgraduate courses in DU.
Jamia Millia Islamia registrar Nazim Hussain Jafri said the university will soon constitute a committee to prepare a plan for CUCET. “Even though Jamia already conducts entrance examinations for admission to both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, it will have to incorporate many changes in its admission process to adopt a common entrance exam. We will constitute a committee to chalk out a plan for this transition.”
DU registrar Vikas Gupta said that the entrance will allow for optimum utilization of seats and streamline the admission process. “Right now, we don’t know the number of students scoring 99%. The entrance will make things clearer for us. Based on the entrance score, we will be able to give admission. The concerns that arise due to the variable marking policy of different boards will also be resolved,” said Gupta.