But Inter-University Board may finalise it
Once approved, all universities will have to admit students from across the State
BANGALORE: The Higher Education Department and the Inter-University Board might think that the Common Entrance Test (CET) for postgraduate courses in the State universities to be a great idea. But academics have opposed the test, dubbing it "an infringement of the autonomy of the universities" and an exercise designed to dilute the responsibilities of the varsities.
Once the CET is approved in the next Inter-University Board meeting, the universities originally formed to cater to only local, regional needs will have to admit students from across the State based on their entrance test scores.
"The Karnataka State Universities Act 2000 is clear that the universities should cater basically to the regional needs with a jurisdiction earmarked," former Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor M.S. Thimmappa pointed out to The Hindu.
Each university in the State now has its own syllabus, approved by its own methodology thus giving it an identity. The CET, with its emphasis on a uniform syllabus threatens to undermine this.
Also under threat is the universities' right to frame their own curriculum and strike a different path. "Different varsities are meant to project different orientations of a particular subject. All universities cannot have the same expertise," he said.
The Government had responded to these fears by proposing that the syllabus of different universities would be put up on a website to help the students prepare for the CET. But the academics are not convinced, and raise an important question: "With the CET still in its planning stages, how can the students be expected to prepare for a new set of questions outside their syllabus in a short period of 15 days to a month."
Besides, the subjects from a different syllabus are bound to be at an advanced level, making it even tougher for the candidates.
With the admission process taken out of the universities' control, the authority of the vice-chancellors is likely to be diluted.
"If anything goes wrong, the vice-chancellors can always blame it on the agency that conducts the CET. The test will thus be bad for higher education in general," said an academic who preferred anonymity.
One argument for the CET is that it would help students from across the State to get admitted to specific courses such as Bangalore University's Electronic Media programme, not available elsewhere.
Many feel this to be the Government's easy way out. "Why can't the Government support an Electronic Media department in say, Gulbarga University? Let that university feel empowered, the students will be happy," is the counter-argument from the academics.
The Bangalore University College Teachers' Association (BUCTA) has now urged the Government to reconsider its CET proposal, and also opposed the move to make the CET scores the only criteria for postgraduate admissions.
Universities were established in different parts of the State to meet the higher education needs of students of the respective regions.
"This has helped the middle, lower middle income and economically poor students. The move to allot seats mainly on CET marks will cause inconvenience to the economically backward students.
"The most affected will be the girl students as they cannot manage to study in far-off places," feels association president K.G. Lokesh.
But despite the opposition, the Inter-University Board is expected to finalise the CET modalities in its next meeting called by Higher Education Minister D.H. Shankaramurthy. Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor H.A. Ranganath declined to comment on the issue.