Govt plans to merge NEET, JEE into CUET: UGC chairperson Jagadesh Kumar

Aug 12, 2022 05:04 PM IST

UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar said the government aims to merge the national engineering and medical entrance exams into CUET by next year

NEW DELHI: The government is exploring the possibility of merging the national engineering and medical entrance exams into the existing Common University Entrance Test (CUET), University Grants Commission (UGC) chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar said on Friday. Kumar said the government was looking at introducing the integrated entrance exam at the earliest, preferably by next year.

CUET was launched this year for undergraduate admissions to 90 universities including 45 central universities. (HT File Photo/Sunil Ghosh)
CUET was launched this year for undergraduate admissions to 90 universities including 45 central universities. (HT File Photo/Sunil Ghosh)

“We have three major entrance examinations, that is NEET, JEE (Main) and CUET and a large number of students appearing for these entrances are common. And all these examinations are conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). Therefore, we are thinking why not use CUET scores alone for admission to multiple disciplines,” he said.

CUET was launched this year for undergraduate admissions to 90 universities including 45 central universities. Officials said 1.05 million students applied for CUET, making it the second biggest exam after NEET which received 1.8 million applications.

Kumar said the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also envisages “one nation, one entrance” and this will reduce students’ burden of taking multiple entrance examinations for higher education.

While the National Eligibility Entrance Exam (NEET) is conducted for admission to medical courses including MBBS and BDS, the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) is designed for admission to various engineering courses including NIITs, IIITs and other centrally funded technical colleges and shortlist students who can appear for the JEE-Advanced exam for admission to the Indian Institutes of Technologies (IITs).

“NEET requires biology, physics and chemistry, JEE requires mathematics, physics and chemistry. All these subjects are already in CUET. Therefore, it won’t be an issue for medical and engineering colleges to use CUET scores for admission,” the UGC chairperson said.

Kumar said that the union ministry of education and UGC have started the discussions to prepare the stakeholders. “We don’t want to announce anything in a sudden manner just a few months before the exams,” he said.

The UGC will form a committee, including experts from diverse fields, to look at the present forms of entrance exams. “The committee will work on preparing recommendations for an integrated entrance exam. These recommendations will then be shared with the stakeholders for consultation and feedback and based on that the ministry and UGC will decide the modalities of the exam. A lot of planning has to be done,” Kumar said.

The exam may be conducted twice a year to provide more opportunities to students. “We may conduct the first session immediately after the conclusion of board exams and other sessions can be conducted in November or December,” he said.

When asked about the technical glitches reported during the ongoing CUET exams for undergraduate admissions, Kumar said the NTA is working on handling all the challenges.

“We are also discussing if the NTA can come up with its own entrance examination centres in educational institutions across the country that can accommodate more than 300 to 400 students at a time. These centres can be used by educational institutions for the rest of the year,” he said.

Emphasising that there is not much difference between the assessment process of NEET, JEE and CUET, Kumar said, “The question papers of all these entrance exams are strictly based on NCERT syllabus and are in multiple-choice format. NTA uses the same criteria for selecting experts for preparing these question papers. The only difference will be in the case of NEET, which is still OMR-based and not computer-based. Therefore, introducing a common entrance exam will be good both from a logistical point of view and the interest of the students.”

A senior NTA official: “Once a committee is formed and it submits its recommendations, NTA will start preparing for the integrated exam.”

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