Common University Entrance Test: Level playing field or shrinking role of schools?

The possible implementation of the Common University Admission Test of the upcoming academic session provoked mixed reactions from the directors of Delhi University and the educationists of the capital. The university’s Academic Council will discuss holding undergraduate admissions based solely on the CUET scores on Tuesday, effectively abolishing the cut-offs.

Rama, director of Hansraj College, said: “The system of closure may have been an age-old practice, but those times were different. Cut-offs have never hit 100% so easily. We never understood the difference between the student who scored 99% and the student who scored 100%. At least with CUET there is a level playing field.”

“It is also good that this is happening for all universities. It aligns everyone. The best thing is that the CUET is held in all regional languages ​​so that no one is left behind,” she said.

Directors of several colleges are waiting for the university to report or clarify this through its legal bodies.

“The CUET is on the agenda of the Academic Council on Tuesday and will be discussed. We have not yet received any specific information on what the role of Class XII marks will be. But the Class XII exams themselves have been uncertain in recent years and it is worrying that students are getting 100/100 in exams and that other students have to compete with something out of the competition,” said IP College Director Babli Moitra Saraf.

The head of Kirori Mal College, Vibha Chauhan, said she is waiting for the university to report on the matter.

However, Sudha Acharya, chairman of the National Progressive Schools Conference, which includes some of the most prominent schools in Delhi, criticized the move to abolish the weighting of all school results, anticipating an erosion of the importance of schools as institutions.
“Unfortunately, many parents view schools only as a medium to write board exams and get results. If universities stop giving weight to board exams, the culture of pushing children to tuition and coaching centers at the expense of school will soon blossom. Schools are not just places of academics. Children learn their core skills, values ​​and reasoning here, but I fear the importance attached to them will diminish further. I will request the president of the UGC to keep some weight for board exams and I will also ask the chairman of the CBSE to appeal this,” she said.

DU had previously said it would abolish its system where admissions were made based on class XII exam results. However, it was not clear at the time whether DU would go along with the CUET or hold its own entrance exam.

According to the minutes of the Standing Committee meeting held on March 17, candidates are only required to have passed the Class XII Board examinations to participate in CUET. The decisions taken in the AC will receive final approval in the board meeting on March 25.

According to the minutes, members said it is not feasible to include any other criterion based on marks obtained in board examinations and that the eligibility criterion should be inclusive. “Minimum criteria should be reformulated as the candidates must have passed the Class XII exam or its equivalent from a single recognized board,” the minutes said.

Members suggested that candidates for CUET should only appear in those subjects which they have passed in Class XII. In the event that the subject is not mentioned in CUET, the proposal is that candidates should appear in a subject similar or closely related to what they studied in Class XII. Merit will be calculated based on a combination of subjects in which a candidate has appeared in CUET as stated in the program specific eligibility, it stated.

However, officials said it won’t pose any problems with changing streams. “The eligibility criteria were more accommodative for each subject. For many courses, the combination of one language plus four subjects still remains as before. In fact, the penalties that students received if they switched streams would now no longer last,” said registrar Vikas Gupta.

They also proposed that the admission to all redundant seats, except for foreign students, should be done through CUET. For courses under the Faculty of Music and Visual Arts, and B.Sc in Physical Education and Sports, a combined CUET score and performance test will be given, with a weight of 50% for both.

For minority schools like St. Stephen’s and also Jesus and Mary, the proposal is to stick to CUET. However, for the School of Open Learning and the Non-Collegiate Women Education Board, admissions will be done as before.

Sajal Jain
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