The Idea of One India, One Entrance Exam – Kashmir Reader

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The University Grants Commission is in the process of initiating a case study for merging India’s premier undergraduate entrance tests such as JEE, NEET and CUET into a single entity to be administered by the NTA (National Testing Agency). This proposal is going to benefit millions of professional and university college admission seekers and aspirants in more than one way.
NEET and JEE
Lakhs of students after 10+2 attempts NEET for taking admission in medical and allied courses like BDS. Three electives, i.e., Biology, Physics and Chemistry, questions are included in NEET examinations.
Similarly for JEE Main and Advanced, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry syllabus are covered. Physics and Chemistry subjects are common for both entrance tests. The only difference is Maths and Biology electives are separate for JEE and NEET. Altogether four 10+2 subjects are covered for both JEE and NEET.
The University Grants Commission is planning to make a common question paper in Physics and Chemistry for both NEET and JEE and an optional Maths paper for JEE and another Biology paper for NEET examinations. It means a common admission test for medical and engineering aspirants comprising four subjects of Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Chemistry.
For admission to medical courses, a merit list is prepared on the basis of Biology, Physics and Chemistry scores. Similarly for IITs and NITs admissions list is prepared on the basis of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry scores.
CUET (Common University Entrance Test)
The common University Entrance Test earlier known as the Central Universities Common Entrance test is an all India qualifying test conducted by National Testing Agency for admission to various UG, PG, Integrated, Diploma, Certification and Research programmes. Its notification for 2022-23 is meant for admission to hundreds of undergraduate courses in 53 Central Universities, 11 Deemed Universities, 12 State Universities, 19 Private Universities and dozens of Autonomous Colleges. The CUET also covers mainly Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology along with 27 domain specific subjects apart from general knowledge, general mental ability, numerical ability, quantitative reasoning and logical and analytical reasoning.
Merger of NEET, JEE and CUET
The UGC has proposed to conduct a common test after merging JEE, NEET and CUET for admission to undergraduate courses like Medical, Engineering, Law, Arts, Commerce and various integrated courses for all affiliated institutions across the country. Even foreign universities are expected to consider NTA’s scoresheet for admission to their UG programmes. For all these above mentioned courses, 10+2 students needs to attend only a single examination. The marks scored by candidates will be treated as eligibility criteria for granting admission to multiple disciplines.
At present, in India, there are hundreds of entrance tests being conducted regularly by different establishments. The JEE, NEET, IIT JAM, CUSA, KEAM, IISC, IISER, COMEDK, AIIMS, JIPMER, CAT, CLAT, BITSAT, MAT, GMAT, etc, are a few examples.
Benefit for students
If there is only a single platform for multiple admission choices, students and parents are benefited in many ways including saving of money (exam fees), travel time and accommodation, different exam centres, and a single exam which reduces confusion. Moreover, a common admission time scheme will be followed by all institutions pan India.
CUET and GATE scores
The CUET scores are similar to GATE scores. The GATE is an assessment that basically tests the comprehensive understanding of various UG subjects in engineering and science for admission to PG programmes and also to showcase credit scores for employment purpose in a few public undertakings. GATE is not an entrance test but an assessment one.
Like GATE scores, CUET scores can be used for claiming merit seats in UG programmes including medical, engineering and other general university higher education courses.
Integrated courses after 10+2
Integrated courses are academic programmes a candidate can pursue with both UG and PG degrees. These courses enable students to focus on a particular degree and end up with a PG or professional certification like BEd or LLB. These integrated programmes are offered in all streams such as arts, science and commerce or professional courses.
Concerns
No doubt, UGC’s plan to amalgamate NEET, JEE and CUET is a welcome measure. The same postulate is underlined in NEP 2020. But the concerns are to be well addressed prior to undertaking such a huge endeavour in Indian higher education scenario. Issues like standard contents of biology in NEET, advanced mathematical concepts in JEE, average learning outcomes of 10+2 passed out students at all-India level, combined syllabus (XI & XII) for NEET and JEE, more weightage for 12th in CUET, different difficulty levels of questions in CUET, NEET and JEE (like higher standard of Physics in JEE than NEET) etc are to be seriously debated and the discrepancies needs to be resolved.
Though the South Korean CSAT exam – College Scholastic Ability Test – is the one imported model which is being considered by UGC to transplant in Indian context, it should not ignore the fact that the registered number of candidates for CUET 2022 is 10 times larger than Korean CSAT exam 2022. Moreover, South Korea is a country that has already launched 5G internet technology with effect from first of December 2018 and has established research centres for 6G technology at three universities two years back. At the same time in India, technical glitches stood in the way of smooth conduct of the much-awaited CUET 2022. The third phase of CUET is yet to be conducted. Meanwhile, JNU has demanded to withdraw from CUET for avoiding further delay in admission processes for the academic session 2022-23.
Finally, one can consider a single competitive entrance exam with UPSC’s Civil Service Examination that is used to fill various UPSC posts under 24 or more civil services, like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRC, etc.
The writer is Secretary General of the Indian chapter for UN Volunteers for the Cause of Education. [email protected]

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