This refers to the editorial "In reverse gear" (Nov. 16). Abolishing the Common Entrance Test and admitting students to professional streams on the basis of marks secured in the qualifying examinations will prove suicidal. High marks can be secured in these examinations by mugging up textbooks. What professional courses require is analytical skill, besides textbook information. As for rural students, the Government should provide them with books and free coaching to help them to compete.
The Tamil Nadu Government's decision to abolish CET on the basis of the Anandakrishnan Committee recommendation seems to have the single objective of bringing down the number of urban students in professional courses by a short cut. It ignores the need to improve the overall competence of students.
It is unfortunate that instead of improving the existing CET to benefit rural students, the Government is contemplating its abolition. Unless it is sure that its proposed method of admissions is error free and can do justice to all sections of students, it should not rush into the decision.
The Government's action would have been more laudable if Anandakrishnan Committee's terms of reference had included examining whether CET can be retained or dispensed with. By mandating the committee to suggest ways of dispensing with CET, the Government has failed to tap the think-tank on ways to hone the skills of rural students to face the entrance examination with similar confidence and efficiency as their urban counterparts. The panel's recommendations that have not addressed the problems of rural students or suggested a way to avoid legal wrangles lack credibility.