Academicians from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are raising their doubts over the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) as a mode of admission into Postgraduate courses. They question the MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) pattern, which the test follows, over the old subjective entrance pattern followed by the varsity.
As per a report by PTI, the academicians fear that the MCQ-based test pattern will dilute the quality of students attracted by the varsity. JNU Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit reiterates that the university has been appealing to the Centre to change the CUET format for postgraduate admissions.
"For Master's programmes, we need to test the overall understanding of the subject, opinions and critical thinking besides knowledge. The MCQs have a different testing pattern and aptitude," she said.
The JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) is also of the same opinion. It had recently moved a resolution demanding that the university suspends its agreement with the National Testing Agency (NTA) and immediately restore JNU's own time-tested admission procedures, as per PTI.
JNU Professor Bishnupriya Dutt said, "We also need to take into account the unique nature of the university and peculiarity of different centres and the courses offered by them. There is a reason why the university attracts the best talent from across the country and it's the selection process. If we have to provide a level playing field to everyone, CUET PG can be a subjective exam but to test aspirants of Master's programmes on basis of an MCQ-based exam is not the right metric."
Meanwhile, another JNU professor, Ayesha Kidwai, said that the varsity had its own entrance test system, which used to analyse students on the basis of their writing skills and their opinion-making capacity. She stated that the VC should call an Academic Council meeting and withdraw from CUET and added that the move will get the support of the entire teaching community.
"JNU has been in existence for over 50 years and the university was holding its entrance for nearly 48 years before the former VC M Jagadesh Kumar, who is now UGC Chairman, brought in the JNU Entrance Exam (JNUEE) by tying up with the NTA. The move not only meant that we lost out on good students but NTA also charged three times the money the university would spend on holding the exam," Professor Kidwai said.
"The university, when it was conducting its own exam, also used to make a profit of Rs 1.5 crore, which would then be used by the university to give Merit-cum-Means Scholarship to students," she added, as per PTI.
The JNU teachers' voice against CUET was praised by Delhi University Professor Abha Dev Habib, who supported VC Pandit. "Delhi University conducts the DUET, which is also based on the MCQ format, but the difference is that it is being done by the university, which means that the university has a say in framing the MCQs and deciding on the students it wants and a certain filtering process," she said.
"But with CUET, it will be a one-size-fits-all approach. Every university has different Postgraduate courses and a different character, which will be hampered by the CUET. Also, technical glitches in CUET UG have also been a huge let-down for students, who aspire to study in central universities," Habib stated.
It may be noted that the CUET PG exam is scheduled to be held from September 1 to September 11. It will be conducted across 500 cities in India and at 13 centres abroad. As many as 66 central universities have adopted the test in India for admission in Postgraduate courses.