Common University Entrance Test: Level playing field or shrinking role of schools?

The possible implementation of the Common University Entrance Test from the coming academic session evoked mixed responses from Delhi University college principals and the capital’s educationists. The university’s Academic Council will Tuesday discuss holding undergraduate admissions solely on the basis of the CUET scores, effectively doing away with cutoffs.

Hansraj College principal Rama said, “The cut-off system may have been an age-old practice but those times were different. Cut-offs never touched 100% so easily. We never understood what was the difference between the student scoring 99% and the student scoring 100%. With CUET, at least there will be a level playing field.”
“It’s also good that this is happening for all universities. It brings everyone on a par. The best part is that the CUET will be conducted in all regional languages, so that nobody gets left behind,” she said.

Principals of multiple colleges are waiting for the university to issue a notification or clear this through its statutory bodies.

“The CUET is on the Academic Council agenda for Tuesday and it will be discussed. We have not yet received specific information on what the role of Class XII marks will be. But Class XII examinations themselves have been of an uncertain nature in recent years and it has been a matter of concern that students are being given 100/100 in exams and other students have had to compete with something that is beyond competition,” IP College principal Babli Moitra Saraf said.

Kirori Mal College principal Vibha Chauhan said she is waiting for the university to issue its notification on the matter.

However, Sudha Acharya, chairperson of the National Progressive Schools Conference, which includes some of the most prominent schools in Delhi, criticised the move towards doing away with any weightage at all of school leaving grades, anticipating an erosion in the importance of schools as institutions,
“Unfortunately, many parents think of schools just as a medium to write board exams and get results. If universities stop giving any weightage to board exams, the culture of pushing children to tuitions and coaching centres at the cost of school will bloom rapidly. Schools aren’t places of just academics. Children learn their core skills, values and reasoning here, but I am afraid that the importance attached to it will fall further. I will be requesting the UGC chairman to retain some weightage for board examinations and will also be requesting the CBSE chairman to appeal for this,” she said.

DU had earlier said it would be doing away with its system whereby admissions were done on the basis of Class XII board exam results. However, it was not clarified at the time if DU would go with the CUET or hold its own entrance exam.

As per the minutes of the Standing Committee meeting held on March 17, candidates need to only have passed the Class XII board exams to sit for CUET. The decisions taken in the AC will get final approval in the Executive Council meeting to be held March 25.

According to the minutes, members said it will not be feasible to include any other criterion based on marks obtained in board examinations and that the eligibility criterion must be inclusive. “Minimum criteria should be rephrased as the candidates must have passed the Class XII examination or equivalent thereto from a single recognised board,” the minutes stated.

Members suggested that candidates must appear for CUET in only those subjects that they have cleared in Class XII. In case the subject is not mentioned in CUET, the proposal is that candidates must appear in one that is similar or closely related to what they have studied in Class XII. “Merit will be calculated on the basis of a combination of subjects in which a candidate has appeared in CUET as mentioned in the programme-specific eligibility,” it stated.

However, officials said this will not result in any problem with changing streams. “The eligibility criteria has been more accommodative for each subject. For many courses, the combination of one language plus four subjects still remains like it used to. In fact, the penalties students faced if they changed streams would no longer stay now,” said Registrar Vikas Gupta.

They have also suggested that admission to all supernumerary seats, excluding foreign students, be done through CUET. For courses under the faculty of music and fine arts, and B.Sc in physical education and sports, combined CUET score and performance-based test, with 50% weightage to both, will be given.

For minority colleges like St Stephen’s and Jesus and Mary too, the proposal is to stick to CUET. However, for the School of Open Learning and the Non-Collegiate Women Education Board, admissions will be conducted as earlier.

Source link