After Delhi University decided last month to hold an entrance exam for admitting undergraduates in 2022, the Jawaharlal Nehru University too is likely to follow suit. Its academic council will discuss today whether to hold a common entrance test for its degree courses.
However, the move has already drawn flak. Student unions have written to the council chairman pointing to the lack of student representation in the decision-making process, and also the unsuitability of a common test for Central universities.
In a letter addressed to the chairperson of the academic council, students' union representatives of JNU have pointed out the lack of student representation in the decision-making process and various concerns around the unsuitability of CU-CET as a method of assessment.
CU-CET, envisaged in the National Education Policy 2020, is set to take off in the coming academic session of 2022-23. If formally launched by the government, all Central and state universities will conduct an all-India entrance test in an online MCQ format for admissions into various under-graduate, post graduate and research programmes.
Though already in existence since 2010 and coordinated by the Central University of Rajasthan, CU-CET became part of NEP, and the National Testing Agency (NTA) took over the conduct of the test in 2021. In a letter sent by the UGC in November, the vice-chancellors of Central universities were asked to take appropriate measures to conduct CU-CET.
“After detailed deliberations, it was resolved that the common entrance for UG and PG may be conducted from the academic session 2022-23. For admissions to PhD, NET score will be used, wherever feasible,” the UGC letter said.
While CU-CET was proposed as an antidote to unrealistic cut-offs in college admissions based on board exam marks, the move has been criticised for destroying the autonomy of universities in setting up question papers and declaring results, apart from encouraging a business model of coaching institutes.
“Many universities including JNU offer programmes and courses that are unique to the university. A one-size-fits-all approach of CU-CET will be detrimental in this regard and will not be sufficient to accommodate the diverse range of programmes offered in different Universities," said a letter signed by representatives of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union.
"We further urge you to examine, to what extent could NET, an examination designed to determine eligibility for professorship (or a fellowship), be set as criteria for PhD admissions. Further, many PhD courses offered in JNU, for instance PhD in cinema studies, labour studies, Korean language, etc, do not have a corresponding paper in the NET examination, thus adversely affecting the opportunities of the prospective candidates interested in the fields.”
The CU-CET exam, for a duration of two hours, will test components like quantitative and verbal ability, apart from logical reasoning, in an aptitude test. A second half is reserved for subject-specific questions.
CU-CET 2021 had 12 central universities—including Assam University in Silchar, Central University of Gujarat, Central University of Punjab and Central University of Tamil Nadu—conducting exams to accept students into its 64 undergraduate and integrated courses, including MCQ questions for BA and BSc programmes. The humanities courses had 100 questions allotted for English, data interpretation, analytical skills, reasoning, general aptitude and GK.
Delhi University (DU) notified a CU-CET or a Delhi University Common Entrance Test (DU-CET) for admissions from the 2022-23 academic session onward.