Single test for entry to Central universities from next year

Single test for entry to Central universities from next year

New Delhi: The process of college admissions in India is set for a radical change, with the country’s Central universities agreeing to conduct a common entrance test for selecting students from across the country. India’s education minister, who previously scrapped class X exams in favour of grades in an attempt to foster real education and not just learning by rote, said the move was part of an attempt to reform the education system and assess students holistically.

Vice-chancellors of 40 Central government-funded universities also agreed to create an inter-university credit transfer system to help students transfer from one university to another.

“The Central universities have decided in principle to have a common aptitude test. The score of the class XII exam and that of the aptitude test will be combined while admitting students to the undergraduate courses across these Central universities," human resource development minister Kapil Sibal announced after a meeting of the vice-chancellors in the National Capital.

The minister added that the new admission process, which will come into effect next year, would not infringe on a university’s autonomy.

Central universities such as the Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Banaras Hindu University will also be allowed to retain their unique admission procedures.

For example, Jamia can continue 25% of its intake from its own schools.

“The unique features will remain. There is going to be wider consultations on the modalities to be followed," Najeeb Jung, vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, said.

The aptitude test will help measure the general knowledge and personality of the students.

Sibal said the effort is to take forward the reforms in higher education and to ensure that students are judged holistically rather than on the knowledge they have gleaned from books.

Hundreds of thousands of students study in Central universities, considered elite institutions of learning.

Sibal and the vice-chancellors also decided to launch four-year integrated BSc-BEd (bachelor of science-bachelor of education) and BA-BEd (bachelor of arts-bachelor of education) courses in order to address the shortage of school teachers.

“Students will have the option to get out of the college after three years with just a BA or BSc degree or stay for one more year and get a dual degree. This will help create a pool of quality teachers," he said.

India is facing a shortage of more than 250,000 teachers in schools and the additional BEd degree would widen the pool of teaching talent.