A common entrance examination for Central Universities has been mooted

Even as the Human Resource Development Ministry struggles to finalise a joint entrance examination for undergraduate engineering courses in the wake of stiff opposition by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), it is working towards a common entrance examination for all Central Universities.

The proposed examination was discussed at the Vice Chancellor’s retreat held in Chandigarh last weekend. There are 42 Central Universities in the country of which seven –Bihar, Jammu, Kashmir, Rajasthan, Kerala, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu – already have a common test for admission to undergraduate programmes. 

While the Vice Chancellors broadly agreed on the need for a common test for the benefit of students, there was some reservation from the heads of more established Central Universities over the scale of the examination and the impact on the quality of students.

B.P.Sanjay, Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Tamil Nadu has been entrusted with the responsibility of preparing a policy document that would explain the proposed examination, the experience of these seven universities and addressing the concerns raised by the Vice Chancellors.

Sources in the HRD Ministry suggested that the proposed admission system give adequate weightage to class XII board examinations to account for subject knowledge. At present, Class XII board examination marks are used for determining cut-offs for admission. The proposed common entrance examination would test general and subject related aptitude of a student through a single test.

Minority Central Universities like Aligarh Muslim University and unique universities such as the Indian Maritime University may be given the option of participating in the common examination.

While the Central Universities have been asked to take necessary steps to join in the common examination from the next academic session, sources in the Ministry said that the common test would be in place at the earliest only by 2014.