A recent interview by M Jagadesh Kumar, Chairman, UGC to the Times of India has sent shockwaves across the world of students and parents. Bringing all exams under Common Universities Entrance Test (CUET) might just be a recipe for disaster because of the following reasons:
'Do or Die' for students: When we talk about competitive exams, students generally like to keep all their options open, including opting for other exams, in case things don't go according to their plan in a particular exam. This new move will make it a 'Do or Die' situation for the students
Syllabus and level of difficulty are not uniform: There is a lot of difference in the exam papers of the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE), National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), and other competitive exams. For example, NEET students are not expected to be as proficient in Physics when compared to JEE students as they are from a Math background. This will give an unfair advantage to a few students
Logistical nightmare: About 45-50 lakh students are expected to give these exams. It would become a logistical nightmare to conduct these exams across the country in one go
Challenge from private universities: Students might end up preferring private universities, some of whom might charge a very high fee for admissions as a backup option since the competition for this common exam will be very high. This might take a toll on students and parents
Learning gap will be widened: Already, students from Tier I towns and cities have a distinct advantage over other peers and this advantage will only get bigger if more students appear for a single exam. The learning gap and adaptation to the new format might hamper the prospects of students from other towns and villages
Authors note: A balanced view in consultations with students, parents, lecturers as well as schools and educational institutions should be taken before intiating such measures. There are other issues with the NTA and UGC which need an overhaul, be it syllabus, smooth conduction of exams, fixing technical glitches and counselling and more, before steps like these are initiated.
(Yasasvi Santhosh is the Director of Spark Academy. Views expressed are personal)