In Kerala, call for common entrance exam for non-professional programmes evokes mixed response from academic community

COVID-19 positive students in PPE kits take the higher secondary exams at a school in Thiruvananthapuram in April.   | Photo Credit: PTI


The demand for holding a common entrance exam for admission to non-professional degree programmes has evoked mixed reactions among the academic community in Kerala.

The call for a common entrance test was made by a section of the students and unaided school managements in the CBSE/ICSE streams while stating that many aspirants will not get fair justice in the admission process. They had cited the adoption of alternative evaluation methods by the central boards after the authorities cancelled the written examination for Class 12 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The Kerala High Court had sought the government’s response in the petition filed last week by a few students and the Kerala CBSE School Managements' Association seeking a common entrance exam for admission to the undergraduate programmes in Kerala.

“The National Education Policy (NEP) had suggested a common aptitude test as well as specialised common subject exams at least twice a year by the National Testing Agency (NTA). The proposed entrance examination for university admissions may increase the pressure on students and shift the focus of rote-learning from board examinations to the NTA entrance test,” said Rajan Varughese, Member Secretary of the Kerala State Higher Education Council.

“It can impose additional costs on students, weaken the teaching-learning process and spread the ‘coaching culture’ to non-professional courses too. The well-established system of Centralised Admission Process (CAP) implemented by the affiliating universities in Kerala has ensured equity and transparency in the admission process,” he said.

Prof. Varughese said that the number of undergraduate programmes at the affiliated colleges consisting of traditional (Model –I), vocational/restructured (Model - II) and interdisciplinary/frontier area (Model -III) programmes are so large and diverse and a common entrance examination for all these programmes can cause several academic issues, which may adversely affect the choice of students.

Bright students

Sabu Thomas, Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University, pointed out that a national-level test for undergraduate programmes may help the higher educational institutions to have bright students enrolling for various programmes. “There could be separate tests stream-wise at the national level,” he said.

However, Prof. Thomas said that a State-level entrance examination, similar to the one conducted for professional degree courses, was not practical for undergraduate courses. “We have been admitting students for these programmes on the basis of their performance in the Class 12 qualifying exam and it can continue in the present format,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 5:40:51 AM |

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