67 p.c. of those who didn’t clear the test for non-engineering from north India

The controversial decision to introduce an English language test as a qualifier for private professional college admissions appears to have paid off. Aimed at “eliminating” those applying from outside Karnataka who are unfamiliar with English, the move appears to have achieved its purpose, given that only two of those who were disqualified on these grounds are from Karnataka.

Officials from the Consortium of Medical, Engineering and Dental Colleges of Karnataka (COMEDK), which released the UGET results on Tuesday, said that both the Karnataka students who failed the language test were from “urban areas”, and not from “rural background”.

Critics of the move had said that the test would put meritorious students from rural Karnataka at a disadvantage. In all, 235 students failed to clear the English eligibility test introduced for aspiring doctors.

However, a majority of these aspiring doctors who have been disqualified, had indeed scored “very high marks” in Physics, Chemistry and Biology, and their ranks would have fallen roughly within the first 600. Speaking to The Hindu, A.S. Srikanth, chief executive of the COMEDK, said that 159 of the disqualified lot belong to north India — Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

‘Very negligible’

Mr. Srikanth sad that the fact that only 1.5 per cent of the 16,695, who became eligible for admission to medical and dental colleges, had failed to make the cut, puts to rest claims on disadvantaging rural students. He said the numbers were “very negligible”, and this experiment only goes to prove that English is not a deterrent to medial/dental admissions. He added that only about 4.3 per cent of students who take up the test are from rural Karnataka and therefore the section of students who would have been affected by the move was also a small fraction. He said that the test “served as a good elimination process”.

Students who had taken up the exam in Karnataka had reported that the English exam of 30 questions on basic grammar and comprehension was a cakewalk. It is also to be noted that all the students who appeared for the engineering exam (41,684) are eligible for ranks. These students did not have to take up the English exam.

Why not engineering?

When asked why a similar test has not been imposed on engineering seat aspirants, he said that “communication skills were more essential for doctors than engineers”.