Entrance exam waiver for MBA
The technical education regulator has waived the requirement of entrance-test scores for admission to MBA and Postgraduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) courses, citing several states’ inability to hold these tests because of the pandemic.
Instead, students can be admitted to these programmes on the basis of their graduation scores, the All India Council for Technical Education has said.
The move has prompted some academics to question the insistence by the central government and its examination body, the National Testing Agency, on holding the national-level engineering (JEE Main) and medicine (NEET) entrance tests in September.
Higher education regulator University Grants Commission too has asked all the universities to hold final-semester undergraduate and postgraduate exams by September.
Normally, under the AICTE’s guidelines, the country’s 320-odd management institutes admit students on the basis of their scores in any of six national-level entrance exams or the Common Entrance Tests (CETs) conducted by individual state governments.
The six national-level tests, conducted by central or private agencies and institutions, are the Common Admission Test (CAT), Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT), Common Management Admission Test (CMAT), AIMS Test for Management Admission (ATMA), Management Aptitude Test (MAT) and the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT).
While all the six national-level tests have already been held — mostly in the early days of the lockdown — many states have failed to conduct their CET.
“In many of the states, some of the above entrance tests could not be conducted due to fear of spread of (the) coronavirus and there is no indication as to whether these tests are postponed or likely to be held or cancelled, etc,” the AICTE said in a circular last week. “Therefore... the PGDM/ MBA institutions are allowed to admit the students on the basis of marks obtained in qualifying examination by preparing a merit list in a transparent manner.”
The circular, issued by AICTE member secretary Rajive Kumar, added: “However, first preference will be given to those candidates who have appeared (qualified) in any of the entrance tests.”
Kumar told The Telegraph that the AICTE had received a large volume of representations from students and institutions citing the failure of some states to conduct the CET. “So we have allowed admission on the basis of (graduation) marks, but only after exhausting all the candidates who have taken any of the seven entrance tests,” he said.
A teacher from a Noida-based engineering college cited the AICTE move to question the decision to hold the JEE Main, NEET and the final-semester exams in universities amid the pandemic.
“If the AICTE can waive the requirement for entrance-test scores because of the Covid crisis, the National Testing Agency (NTA) should at least agree to defer the JEE Main and the NEET. Since admissions have already been delayed, they can sure be delayed by some more time?” the teacher said.
Several states have opposed the conduct of the engineering and medical entrance tests now.
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday posted a tweet asking the Centre to consider postponing these tests to avoid risking the students’ lives. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too has asked the government to listen to the students and arrive at an acceptable solution.
An education ministry official, however, said the NTA was unlikely to defer the engineering and medical entrance tests since the Supreme Court had dismissed a plea from students and others seeking such postponement.
The NTA had last week issued a media release saying the JEE Main would be held from September 1 to 6 for nearly 8.5 lakh candidates, and the NEET on September 13 for about 16 lakh candidates.
The NTA has asked the states to provide the logistics and ensure law and order at the test centres.
“In order to solicit support of the states for maintaining law and order condition, power supply, facilitation of movement of candidates and exam functionaries, crowd management in front of exam centres, etc, the NTA has also written to the state chief secretaries, DGPs, and DMs/SPs of the concerned cities,” the NTA release said.
It said the states had also been asked to follow all pandemic safety protocols during the tests.