B. Arch aspirants from Chennai who want to take the JEE (Mains)–architecture entrance test are surprised to find the city missing on the list of centres released by CBSE recently.

As per the list of centres announced by the CBSE on November 13 on its official site, Chennai does not have any centre for the pen-paper test, which is the only test mode for higher education in architecture.

Education consultant D. Nedunchezhiyan points out that this is the first time Chennai has not been announced as a centre. “The CBSE has designated centres in 100 cities across the country for the test, including Mumbai, Kolkata and many smaller towns. Why Chennai has been removed is beyond comprehension, especially because there is a significant number of takers from here.” In previous years, over 3,000 students took the architecture entrance exam in the city. The test is an entry to architecture courses in nearly 25 centrally-governed colleges across the country.

A CBSE official in its regional office here said students could opt for either the online or offline mode for Paper 1 of the test for engineering courses, but Paper 2 is strictly a pen-paper test. The online option for engineering courses is available in Chennai, Cuddalore, Dindigul, Kanyakumari, Karur, Namakkal, Salem, Thanjavur and Tuticorin, among others, while centres in Coimbatore and Madurai have both options, for both engineering and architecture. This means students wanting to take only the architecture exam or both tests offline will have to go to Puducherry, Coimbatore or Madurai. “Also, because it is on a first-come, first-served basis, as indicated by the CBSE on its website, there is a rush among parents to apply, so that they are not forced to travel to far-off cities,” said Mr. Nedunchezhiyan.

The offline exam is scheduled for April 6, with the engineering test scheduled from 9 to noon and architecture entrance from 2 p.m. A CBSE official said complaints received from parents here have been sent to New Delhi.

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