The University Grants Commission on Thursday announced a Central University Common Entrance Test for postgraduate admissions (CUET-PG) this year, amid wide criticism of its undergraduate counterpart (CUET-UG) as a fillip to coaching at the expense of proper education.
While the CUET-UG is mandatory for all the central universities, the postgraduate entrance exam is not, at least for this year.
M. Jagadesh Kumar, UGC chairperson, has tweeted that 42 universities, including many central universities, will admit students this year via the CUET-PG, to be held in the last week of July.
Like the CUET-UG, the postgraduate version will be an objective-type, computer-based exam conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). Applications will be received from May 19 to June 18, Kumar posted.
“Application form submission will start today on NTA website. Programme details will be available on websites of participating central universities and other universities…. CUET will provide a single window opportunity to students…,” he tweeted.
Till 2020, every university held its own entrance test for postgraduate courses. Last year, 12 central universities approached the NTA on their own and got it to hold a combined CUET-PG through which they admitted their students.
The UGC’s involvement this year makes the exam official.
The vice-chancellor of a central university said the CUET-PG would merely provide more business to coaching centres and education technology (EdTech) companies that are already making huge profits by providing practice modules.
“So far, the pattern of each university’s entrance test used to be different. A common entrance test will help the coaching and EdTech firms sell their products,” he said.
As for the CUET-UG, private coaching centres have mushroomed and many schools have tied up with these institutes to train their pupils on their premises at the expense of regular classes.
A government college last week announced a month’s crash course for CUET-UG coaching at Rs 12,000 a student, before scrapping the decision in the face of protests from academics.
The Union government on Thursday exempted central universities in the Northeast and Uttarakhand from admitting students to their undergraduate courses through the CUET-UG.
The decision of the government at the last moment has come as a surprise to many VCs who had set the process of admission according to the CUET-UG system. Now they have to go back to the old system of marks-based selection.
The UGC issued a letter to the registrars of Sikkim University, Rajiv Gandhi University, Manipur University, Assam University, Nagaland University, Tripura University, Mizoram University, Northeastern Hill University and HNB Garhwal University in Uttarakhand.
The letter issued by UGC undersecretary V. Talreja said the decision had been taken considering operational difficulties like geographical conditions, hilly terrain, far-flung locations, limited digital connectivity and infrastructure.