February 13, 2017 1:49:49 am
THE CENTRAL government’s decision to standardise engineering and architecture entrance exams has been welcomed by engineering aspirants who may now be able to apply to colleges and courses across the country. The Ministry of Human Resource Development on Friday asked the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to design a single entrance exam for admissions to engineering and architecture colleges from 2018, along the lines of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). Students now have to focus on only one entrance exam instead of preparing for multiple entrance exams for various colleges, said Geeta Parikh, who will take the test in 2018.
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“The Centre’s decision will put an end to the donation culture in engineering colleges. Students will have to apply through a single window system preventing colleges from earning through the heftily priced application forms,” said Vaibhav Narwade, secretary of the Citizen Forum For Sanctity in Educational Institutions (CFSE), an NGO working for transparency in engineering education. Narwade said that the syllabus of the exam should be prepared meticulously. “There are state boards and then there are boards like CBSE, ICSE and international curriculum which are advanced compared to the former boards. Students from rural India who study in state board schools and colleges, may be at a disadvantage if the test is more focused on the CBSE curriculum,” said Narwade.
The syllabus of the entrance test should be designed in a way that the difficulty level is standard for students from all boards, said Gopakumaran Thampi, the principal of a city engineering college. Another sore point that should be clarified early on, according to Thampi, is the entry barriers that the states could demand. “Students can apply across the country as long as states don’t demand entry barriers like reservations for domicile students,” said Thampi.
Otherwise, students from other states may end up securing admissions to seats in unpopular courses or colleges, he said. Ashok Khandelwal, a parent, said that the government should evaluate colleges on the basis of their performance to help students decide on which colleges and courses to apply for. “Since there is no defined ranking of colleges, it will be chaos when students have to apply for colleges,” he said.
The single entrance test may not, however, help the existing condition of professional education in India, said Thampi. “Seats are going vacant in most professional courses in almost all states. A single window entrance test may standardise the entry process but will not attract more students or help colleges fill the seats,” said Thampi.
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