New Delhi: Admission to undergraduate courses in all universities and colleges will soon be through all-India entrance tests if the draft National Education Policy is approved. Private institutes will also be strongly encouraged to make use of the common admission tests, which will be available from 2020. Both aptitude and subject knowledge-based tests will be offered.
The system seems to have some similarities to the SAT, a standardised aptitude test widely used for admissions to colleges and universities in the United States. The SAT, however, is used as a criterion alongside school grades.
In India, the common entrance test has largely been the domain of aspirants to professional or post-graduate courses, but that is already changing.
The new National Testing Agency (NTA) has already conducted premier professional entrance tests — JEE, NEET, and CMAT — this year.
Later this month, the NTA will also conduct admission tests for applicants to more than 170 Delhi University (DU) courses, including 12 undergraduate programmes. These DU students could well be the pioneers of a new era in undergraduate admission if the draft Policy is implemented.
The NTA testing system will offer flexibility. “[From] 2020 onwards, [the NTA] will administer aptitude tests and tests in specific subjects that can be taken on multiple occasions during the year in order to reduce the intense and unnecessary pressures of the university entrance examinations system,” adds the draft Policy.
“The NTA tests will aim to assess essential concepts, knowledge, and higher order skills from the national common curriculum as per the NCF in each subject, for the purpose of aiding colleges and universities in their admissions decisions.”
Private institutions can set their own criteria, but “most educational institutions and many employers will be encouraged to use these NTA tests”, according to the draft Policy.
The draft projects that the NTA will establish test centres across the country, offering tests in multiple languages. The preferred mode of testing will be computer-based, though it is unclear if this means multiple choice tests only.
In the draft of the National Education Policy (NEP 2019), there are several suggestions for improvement in higher education.
With the introduction of this arrangement, the admission process for colleges will be closed from the different departments on behalf of the college.
In the last few years, 95% and more marks are becoming commonplace in the board exam. In 2018, the cutoff for admission to prestigious colleges of Delhi University has been 96% and above.
The proposed scheme of the new education policy is currently for feedback among the public. If suggestions of NEP are accepted then there may be considerable changes in the admission process.
Several suggestions have also been given to improve the evaluation of board examinations in the draft of education policy. According to NEP’s suggestions, the effect of board examinations is also on the university entrance test.
NEP expressed concern over the growing coaching system in education in its suggestion.NEP recommends that during schooling, students should be emphasized on the process of specialization and learning in different disciplines.