UGC’s announcement on CUET fetches mixed reactions from experts

Experts are divided in their response to the UGC’s announcement that CUET will be conducted in accordance with the NCERT syllabus, as some believed it could penalize those school boards where different books are taught.

UGC President M Jagadesh Kumar had said on Monday that central universities will have to use Common University Entrance Test (CUET) scores to admit students to undergraduate programs this year and not the Class 12 grades.

The CUET’s syllabus will mirror the NCERT’s Class 12 model syllabus, Kumar said.

Sudha Acharya, the chairman of the National Progressive Schools Conference, said, “Many state governments use NCERT books, while some have their own books. The CBSE, which uses NCERT books, is more progressive toward competition. NCERT books are highly standardized and written by renowned experts. The ICSE board has several books and students from there may be at a disadvantage.”

Thus, NCERT books are taught in UP Board and Rajasthan Board.

The director of an ICSE school, who asked for anonymity, said it looks like the CUET will put students, especially from the ICSE board, at a disadvantage. But she was quick to add that it’s better to wait and watch.

“It can hinder the opportunities of ICSE Board students. But drawing a conclusion at this point is too early. I think we have to wait for the first edition of CUET to take place,” said the director.

However, Rajesh Jha, a professor at the University of Delhi, said the CUET will be a disadvantage for students from rural areas and other state administrations.

“Coaching institutes have already started providing coaching for CUET. This means that students from urban areas and those with resources have an advantage,” he added.

Professor Abha Dev Habib of Delhi University also agreed with Jha and said they impose the same syllabus on everyone.

“Education is on the concurrent list and there are several state governments. Even for the NCERT syllabus, MCQs will guide one’s schooling in grade 11 and grade 12. The MCQs are trick questions and even in JEE and NEET we see that students need coaching to pass exams. The same will be the case here,” she said.

International students are exempt from CUET for admission to Indian universities. They will continue to be admitted under the existing practice of the varsities on a redundant basis, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has said.

Sajal Jain
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