M A I N   N E W S

Now, joint engg, medical test
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 18
If all goes well, class XII pass-outs will not have to take separate the All-India Engineering Entrance Exam (AIEEE) and All-India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) entrance tests from the next academic session.

Taking the ongoing examination reforms forward, the Human Resource Development Ministry today said the two tests would be merged to reduce the stress of staggered testing on students.

“Since physics and chemistry are common to both medical and engineering tests, we will have one exam for these. To test students for biology and mathematics, we can evolve a way to prevents unnecessary staggering of the two exams,” HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said at the end of the state education ministers’ conference, which agreed to reduce the multiplicity of exams by evolving a common aptitude test for entry to higher educational institutions (HEIs).

The government is proposing an examination regime post class XII wherein the students are tested on the basis of senior secondary examinations, followed by an aptitude exam.

Percentage weightage to be given to class XII exam results for students’ final entry to HEIs is being worked out.

Though the state ministers were on board on examination reforms, core curriculum for math and science and two new initiatives that were announced today - National Institute for Assessment and Evaluation; and National Vocational Curriculum Framework to cater to 160 million uneducated youth by 2020 - they were against the Centre linking the retirement age of teachers to their pay packages. The ministers of Left-ruled West Bengal, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab voiced the need to delink the two, with Sibal saying he would flag the issue with the Finance Minister.

That apart, Sibal also unveiled his agenda for the second year in office. The package promises relief to students with CBSE set to make physical education period mandatory. CBSE chief Vineet Joshi said a games period would be shortly made compulsory every day up to primary classes and once a week up to class XII.

The minister further proposed a mandatory value education curriculum (to be evolved by NCERT and COBSE together) for schools. “We must appreciate art forms, recall the inspiring stories of legends. Education is more than textbook learning,” said HRD Minister.

In the coming year, Sibal also promises to operationalise the National Education Finance Corporation to offer loans for professional education at the rate of 4 per cent (and pay back period of 6-12 years) to students with family incomes less than Rs 4.5 lakh.

The corporation will also finance the establishment of educational institutions, with a proposal to offer credit to promoters at 8 per cent interest rate and pay back up to 20 years (much less than commercial interest).

Sibal’s Agenda

n Physical education compulsory in schools
n National Education Finance Corporation
n Group housing for teachers, life insurance cover
n Common core curriculum for commerce
n National combined engineering and medical test
n Weightage for class XII results for admission





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