Exam:Strictly exclude undergrad courses from common entrance exams: Kerala panel

Strictly exclude undergrad courses from common entrance exams: Kerala panel

The recommendation comes as the Centre is holding the first Common University Entrance Exam (CUET) for undergraduate admissions

Undergraduate courses should be “strictly excluded” from the common entrance examination and such exams be limited to admissions to the postgraduate and research courses only if the universities are willing to participate in them, one of the panels appointed in Kerala last year to suggest higher education reforms has said. The panel has called entrance exams violative of the autonomy of the universities in deciding admission processes.

The recommendations come as the Centre is holding the first Common University Entrance Exam (CUET) for undergraduate admissions. Last month, 7,700 students appeared in the first phase of CUET-UG in Kerala.

The panel has suggested the introduction of deprivation points for marginalised students, an increase in the number of seats in colleges and universities, more scholarships, research parks in every university and college, and a law to prevent corrupt practices. It has recommended a single exit option for the four-year undergraduate programmes while the National Education Policy 2020 envisages three.

The Kerala government last year appointed three panels to suggest measures to improve higher education. One of them under former BR Ambedkar University (Delhi) Vice Chancellor Shyam Menon submitted its report this month.

The commission said thrusting a uniform system of entrance tests on all universities at all levels like CUET is tantamount to violating the autonomy of universities. “Any common examination shall strictly exclude undergraduate programmes and may be confined to postgraduate programmes and above. This issue may be periodically revisited and discussed,” the commission said in its report.

Menon said the commission felt it should be left to the universities if they want to participate in common entrance exams for admissions to courses other than undergraduate. “The number of students taking admissions to undergraduate courses every year is huge. It is logistically very difficult to conduct a common entrance examination for so many students. It will also help the coaching industry. Besides, such a system completely violates the autonomy of universities…”

A Kerala higher education department official, requesting anonymity, said the report will be examined thoroughly before its suggestions are considered. When asked if Kerala Board Of Public Examinations students getting high scores in Class 12 will be affected by common entrance exams, the official said they will be able to comment after the results of CUET exams are announced.

Union education ministry officials said they are unaware of the commission’s report. “The CUET is successfully conducted across the country. No question can be raised over its feasibility,” said an official.

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