M A I N   N E W S

Soon, single test for college entry
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
The government is hopeful of conducting the first common entrance exam for entry to all colleges and universities in the country by 2013. The proposed exam will, in one go, test aspirants for all undergraduate (UG) courses, thereby ending the era of multiple examinations for admission to higher education institutions.

This hope was voiced by Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal in Parliament today when he was engaging with Lok Sabha members before the passage of the National Institute of Technology (Amendment) Bill 2010 which will make amendments the NIT Act 2007 to include five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research at Kolkata, Pune, Mohali, Bhopal and Thiruvanthapuram as institutes of national importance.

Discussing the way forward for higher education reforms, Sibal said, “I hope to have a common entrance exam for entry to the university system in 2013.”

The minister added that the proposed exam would have two components to assess students for their core skills - results of Class XII exams and results of a SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test is a standardised exam for admission to colleges in the US) type exam.

“This all-India test will cover all subjects and will have two parts - Class XII results and a SAT to test general attributes of candidates instead of their domain knowledge. There will be an all-India merit list and every student will enter college or a university solely on merit. We will then be able to end the malpractice of capitation fee, withholding of security deposits of exam takers and other unfair practices,” the minister said.

He ruled out the possibility of allowing admission to universities solely on the results of Class XII as is the practice in states like Tamil Nadu. “That’s not possible as Class XII exams only test domain knowledge. These don’t test analytical skills. We are waiting for the report of the expert committee which has been tasked with recommending a format for the proposed test and also gives weightage to Class XII exams and SAT results,” Sibal told the Lok Sabha.

The expert committee, headed by T Ramasami, Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, will submit his report in September. It is also toying with the idea of setting up a separate national testing authority to conduct the proposed exam which will be massive in scale.

HRD ministry sources said, “A dedicated testing authority is being contemplated. As for the proposed test, it will replace all the existing exams for entry to UG colleges including Joint Entrance Exam for IITs.”

Once the Ramasami report comes, the government will consult states to take the issue forward. Already, the CBSE has, in consultation with state boards, evolved a core science curriculum and implemented it in schools. The commerce curriculum is also ready and will be now implemented though there are problems in evolving a core curriculum for humanities due to regional and cultural issues involved.

“We have implemented the core curriculum for science; the one for commerce is ready. The idea is to offer a uniform education system to students across boards and thereby have a level-playing field for all those competing in the common entrance exam,” Sibal said, allaying fears of MPs that those who fail the common test won’t have anywhere to go.





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