What happens when Central University Entrance Test makes changes
Manoj (name changed), a cook at a Santiniketan hotel, had to sacrifice his two days’ salary and spend Rs 3,000 for a night’s stay and travel to Berhampore after his son Shyam (name changed) came to know on Monday that the venue for Tuesday’s Central University Entrance Test (CUET) will be the Murshidabad town and not Durgapur.
“The admit card uploaded on August 26 had mentioned that the venue for Tuesday’s test was a private college in Durgapur. As advised in the admit card, I checked the website on Sunday night and there was no change in venue. Only on Monday morning, a friend informed me that the centre has been shifted to Berhampore, which is over 100km away from my home in Bolpur,” said Shyam, who appeared for the entrance test to an undergraduate course.
CUET is an all-India test being organised by the National Testing Agency, which reports to the University Grants Commission for this test, for admission to various courses and research programmes in the central universities.
CUET, which is mandatory for the central universities and optional for state universities and deemed universities, has been dogged by glitches from the first day on July 15. The Centre has drawn charges of mismanaging the test that affects countless students.
The Telegraph sought comment from the National Testing Agency on Shyam’s plight but none was offered till Monday night.
When the Bolpur student found out that there was no way he could reach the venue by 7am even if he left home early on Tuesday, Shyam’s father decided to accompany his son and reach Berhampore by Monday night.
“Durgapur is only 50km from Bolpur and it enjoys good connectivity. But reaching Berhampore by 7am could only be possible if I reached there on Monday. That entails additional expenditure as we have to spend the night in a hotel,” Shyam said, adding that several of his friends were facing the same ordeal.
The trouble for Shyam’s father, who earns Rs 800 a day, had become more acute as hiring a car was too expensive a proposition for him.
Shyam said the earliest he could have reached the test centre on Tuesday was at 8.30am. The first bus from Bolpur leaves for Berhampore at 5.30am and it’s a three-hour journey.
“We live in the town that has Visva-Bharati, which is a central university. There are also a few private engineering colleges in Bolpur and Santiniketan. But surprisingly, the authorities found a venue in Durgapur for the test,” said Manoj, Shyam’s father.
Manoj added: “If that was not harassment enough, the venue was changed to Berhampore and that too in the last hour. I had to sacrifice my two days’ salary and spend a few thousand rupees for a test that could have been held nearer home.”
Some students said initially they had been allotted Visva-Bharati as their test centre but it was later cancelled.
“We informed CUET authorities that it was not possible for us to arrange so many computers to conduct the examination and that led to a change in venue,” said a Visva-Bharati official.
Several students from districts like East Burdwan, Hooghly and Birbhum complained that their CUET venues are far from their home even though there are several private colleges and universities in their vicinity.
“The venue for my CUET exam is at a private university in Salt Lake and the reporting time is 7am. How can I reach the venue so early in the morning, if I don’t spend a night in Calcutta?” a student from Burdwan said on condition of anonymity.