The UGC plans to merge JEE and NEET with the CUET (UG) exam from the next academic year and is all set to form a committee by the end of the month to examine ways and processes to implement this transition. “The introduction of a common test is very much an implication of the New Education Policy, 2020 as one test aims to make life easier for students who have to write multiple tests currently and studying the same subjects in the process. Organizing just one-test helps students save themselves from the hassle of preparing for multiple exams and concentrate fully on the one test. Many developed countries worldwide have done this”, adds Vineet Gupta, Ashoka University Founder.
Implementation of the idea and why it is key
Millions of students have been used to writing JEE or NEET exam for entrance to engineering or medical schools and for better or worse these exams have been an integral part of our education system. Infact the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) which started this year was introduced for the first time in 2010 as CUCET (Central Universities Common Entrance Test).
The UGC has maintained that the syllabus for CUET would be fully based on the NCERT and as long as students have prepared for their boards well they should face no issue attempting an expanded CUET in the future. Hence the idea of merging the JEE, NEET and CUET sounds great on paper, but given how the NTA has struggled to conduct the phase II CUET UG exams this year due to technical snags at various centers, there is a shadow of doubt amongst students on the NTA’s ability to take on the pressure of merging all three exams together and being able to conduct it smoothly.
Around 70% of the students fear that the idea of merger is bad, as per a Times Now survey. The NTA (National Testing Agency) is aware of what happened earlier in August at various test centers around the country and was quick to take remedial action on their part and fix the issues. The NTA going forward plans to start their own centers which can be used for examination purposes and convert the same into training centers when not being used for examination purpose.
The UGC is hedging its bets and not overly committing to the idea. “It is good to see that the UGC is placing a committee in place to evaluate the feasibility of this merger and taking input from various industry stakeholders before arriving at a decision. This will ensure nothing comes as a rude shock for students and other stakeholders that make up the ecosystem and everyone will have enough time in their hands to prepare for the exam. I also welcome the UGC’s suggestion to conduct the CUET-UG multiple times a year so that students get another attempt at the test instead of waiting a full year to reappear for the same”, said Vineet Gupta Ashoka University Founder.
Implementation of this merger is key to how it will be perceived by the students and teachers, and it is key that both the UGC and NTA work together to diffuse any concerns and ensure the best possible outcome can be reached keeping in mind the welfare of students. With the proposed merger of the entrance tests, next on the agenda would be to combine accreditation and ranking bodies into one which would set in motion the changes proposed by the New Education Policy 2020.