Single or multiple tests? Debate continues

Consternation among students as IITs reject national CET and State favours it

The turbulence over the proposed national Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission to undergraduate engineering courses, with the top IITs wanting to pull out from it, has had a ripple effect on all stakeholders.

Students, parents and lecturers are anxiously looking forward for further clarity on the issue from the government’s end.

Many people are sore over the fact that the entrance test for IIT is likely to be merged with the entrance tests for all centrally-funded institutes. The State evincing interest to be part of a national entrance exam for undergraduate engineering courses has only added to the confusion.

While on the one hand, aspirants fear dilution in standards of the exam for IIT, on the other those appearing for CET next year are at sea as to how to proceed with their preparation.

Suhas M, a student of RV PU College who secured rank 4 in CET, feels the IITs should be left untouched.

“If the syllabus is diluted, it will be a disappointment for top achievers. Though one exam for all institutes might take the pressure off students, the IITs have their name because of the quality of education offered and this should not be meddled with.”

Somesh Bhatia, the rank 4 in Comed-K who has also qualified for the IIT this year, feels that there could be one entrance exam, with the IITs conducting an advanced exam after the preliminary entrance.

His peer Shreyas Udupa, who has cleared the IIT-JEE this year, says that one exam deprives the students of opportunities to improve.

“I took many entrance tests this time. If I did not perform to my satisfaction in one, I had the opportunity of doing better in another.”

While these opinions of the toppers mirror those of IIT aspirants, those who are currently studying II PU and are preparing for CET are faced with a different problem. A majority of the colleges and tutorials train students for CET from I PUC itself and a change in the system at this juncture can create problems.

The IITs have been in existence for nearly five decades and they must be given autonomy to decide the exam procedure, opines H S Nagaraj, founder director of BASE. The discussion is not just about having a single or multiple entrance exams.

The standard of the exam is more important. It will be better if the government gives itself and the students some time.

“The State’s CET is one of the best which other states have emulated. There is no need for scrapping it in a hurry,” Nagaraj says.

Dr Sridhar of ACE Creative Learning agrees. “CET in Karnataka has set a benchmark for entrance tests with its transparency. Why is it being taken out?” he asks, adding that the point of having multiple exams is to cater to all learning capabilities and increasing the opportunities for students.

“There could be three entrance tests, one for the IIT and NITs, two other in gradation of easy and middle difficulty levels.”

In response to the several doubts expressed about the proposed exam, Secretary to the Department of Higher Education, Siddaiah, told Deccan Herald that the government was working towards providing clarity and the specifications would be ready within a week after which it would be communicated to the colleges.

 [This article was originally published on Bangalore, Jun 11, 2012, DHNS]