In a move that could affect thousands of students seeking admission to professional colleges, the Centre is considering the merger of the Central Board of Secondary Education-conducted All India Pre Medical Test and the All India Engineering Entrance Examination.
The proposal was made by Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal at the meeting of the State Education Ministers here on Friday. “This is being done to reduce the multiplicity of entry to higher education institutions and to save the students from sitting for two separate exams,” he told journalists at the end of the meeting. Those wanting to write both the tests will have the choice to do so.
While physics and chemistry would be commonly tested in both exams, the medical student can answer only the biology paper and the engineering student only maths. He said the Ministry would hold wider consultations in the coming year, and if approved, the final modalities would be worked out to initiate the common entrance test from the next academic year.
Mr. Sibal said the common entrance test after Class XII would test general awareness and aptitude. For entrance to professional institutions, the criteria would be based on both Class XII marks and the marks of common entrance test put together.
Underlining the need for the State governments to adopt the system, Mr. Sibal said the marks of different Boards could be equalised through a mathematical formula for weightage. The common core curriculum required for removing disparity of syllabi had been devised by the Council of Boards of School Education in India for science and maths. “This will give an opportunity to children from economically weaker sections who are not able to avail coaching, to get through the current system of entrance exams,'' he said, while adding that the proposal was at the debating stage and the need for it had been felt as the current system was being seen as unfair to the poor and the underprivileged.
The Minister also said there was another proposal for setting up a National Institute for Assessment and Evaluation for schools that would serve as an advisory institution for school boards.
Further, the Ministry would work on a curriculum framework for value education as examinations “are only a gateway to higher education whereas values last and guide a lifetime,” Mr. Sibal said.