Today's Paper

Common Entrance Test abolished in Tamil Nadu



Special Correspondent

Assembly adopts Bill by voice vote

CHENNAI: The Common Entrance Test for admission to professional courses in the State has been abolished.

A Bill to do away with the CET was passed in the Assembly on Wednesday by a voice vote.

Minister for Higher Education K. Ponmudi said in-built safeguards had been provided in the Bill to overcome any legal impediment against the abolition. After getting the President's assent, the Government would take steps to implement the decision from the next academic year.

Level playing field

Mr. Ponmudi said the abolition was necessary to provide a level playing field to students from rural areas and poor families, and those from urban areas.

He said it was widely believed that the CET was a traumatic experience for students and their parents, as it sought to determine their future at one stroke. Moreover, students from rural areas had no access to CET coaching classes as they were not available in their locality and also because they could not afford it.

As the higher secondary examination (plus two) itself was a serious examination of merit, imposing a heavy burden on students, there was no need for any separate common entrance test, which was an "additional burden."

Mr. Ponmudi said the decision was based on recommendations made by a committee of educational experts, set up by the Government under the chairmanship of M.Anandakrishnan, former Vice-Chancellor of Anna University.

The committee, in its report, had suggested that the Government should undertake immediate steps to eliminate CET and pass a Bill in the Assembly indicating the need for the elimination in the interest of social justice and protection of vulnerable population.

The Bill should explicitly propose the normalisation process suggested by the committee for ensuring equality of opportunity for admission to students from different streams.

Normalisation

The Minister said the normalisation process suggested by the panel was on the lines of the one being adopted by the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, for admitting students. The Supreme Court had accepted the concept. He termed the separate quota for students from different streams suggested by members impractical. It would only invite legal problems.

The Minister said any complaint of admission of students in unaided professional colleges, made in violation of the provisions of the Bill, would be dealt with seriously. If the complaint were found true fine up to Rs. 5 lakh would be levied. The Government might also recommend withdrawal of affiliation of the institution to the university concerned.