Central universities in the northeastern region and HNBGU in Uttarakhand have been exempted by the Ministry of Education (MoE) from undertaking admissions for undergraduate courses through the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) UG 2023.
In a letter to the registrars of the exempted universities, the MoE cited “geographical conditions, hilly terrain, far-flung location, limited digital connectivity, infrastructure etc” as impediments to conducting the CUET in Northeastern regions as reported by The Indian Express.
The list of universities allowed to take admission as per the past practice instead of CUET comprises Sikkim University, Rajiv Gandhi University, Manipur University, Assam University, Tezpur University, Nagaland University, Tripura University, Mizoram University, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), and Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University (HNBGU) in Uttarakhand.
Previously, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had written to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan seeking exemption of CUET for students of the northeastern state seeking admission into various varsities for the current academic session.
In the letter, Sangma said that the recent assembly election has resulted in the delay of the state board examination giving students "unprecedented challenges" to attempt the CUET exams.
“In light of the above, and as most of the colleges in the state are affiliated to the North Eastern Hill University, I request your good office to kindly exempt the state of Meghalaya from conducting the CUET,” Sangma said in his March 10 letter.
Subsequent to the notification released by the Centre extending the exemption from CUET, the Meghalaya chief minister took to Twitter to express his thanks to Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for approving his request.
The Centre had passed a similar notification last year granting this exception to the list of universities. The letter reads, “Keeping in view the present situation, it has been decided that the above exemption may be extended for one more year for 2023-24. The UGC is requested to issue necessary notification in this regard.”
What is CUET?
CUET 2023 provides a single window opportunity to students seeking admission in any of the Central Universities (CUs) or other participating organisations (including State Universities, Deemed and Private Universities) across the Country.
It has become the second-largest entrance test in the country, after the Joint Entrance Examination-Mains (JEE) for engineering colleges, with over 14.9 lakh aspirants taking it. The examination for undergraduate programs (UG) will be conducted between 21 to 31 May 2023.
This year, more universities have opted to admit students to undergraduate programmes using their CUET 2023 scores.
At the CUET UG exam's inaugural session, 90 universities took part. CUET 2023 will now have 116 participating universities due to the decision of an additional 26 universities. While the University Grants Commission (UGC) mandated that participating colleges use CUET scores for admission, it also granted them the freedom to choose how they would handle their own admissions procedures.
Opposition in certain states
However, some varsities, including JMI, partially adopted the CUET process. JMI through the common test admitted students in 10 courses while admission to other programmes was done through an exam conducted by the varsity.
Delhi University had earlier opposed St Stephen’s College’s decision to give 85 per cent weightage to the Common University Entrance Test and 15 per cent to interviews for admission across categories, saying it will be treated as “null and void”.
In the last year, none of the state universities in West Bengal have adopted the Common University Entrance Test (CUET)-UG model for admission to undergraduate courses, according to authorities.
Vice Chancellor of Diamond Harbour Women's University Soma Bandyopadhyay told PTI, "we have conducted the entrance test as directed by the state higher education department."
The Tamil Nadu Assembly had previously adopted a resolution urging the Centre to withdraw the proposal to conduct a Common University Entrance Test (CUET), saying like NEET it would sideline school education, undermine overall development-oriented learning in schools, lead to stress among students and mushrooming of coaching centres.
The resolution forwarded by CM Stalin reads, “The Assembly feels that in Tamil Nadu's context, this is likely to drastically reduce the number of students from our state in various central universities and their affiliated colleges."
CUET UG examination will be conducted in 13 different languages- Assamese, Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Odia, Malayalam, Punjabi, Tamil, Urdu and Telegu. The examination is supposed to be conducted in 1000 centres across the country.