Thursday, September 30, 2010

Single test for entry to Central universities from next year

The process of college admissions in India is set for a radical change, with the country's Central universities agreeing to conduct a common entrance test for selecting stu- dents from across the country. India's education minister, who previously scrapped class X exams in favour of grades in an attempt to foster real education and not just learning by rote, said the move was part of an attempt to reform the education system and assess students holistically. Vice-chancellors of 40 Central government-funded universities also agreed to create an inter-university credit transfer system to help students transfer from one university to another.

"The Central universities have decided in principle to have a common aptitude test. The score of the class XII exam and that of the aptitude test will be combined while admitting students to the undergraduate courses across these Central universities," Human Resource Development minister Kapil Sibal announced after a meeting of the Vice-chancellors in the National Capital. The minister added that the new admission process, which will come into effect next year, would not infringe on a university's autonomy.

Central universities such as the Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Banaras Hindu University will also be allowed to retain their unique admission procedures. For example, Jamia can continue 25% of its intake from its own schools. "The unique features will remain. There is going to be wider consultations on the modalities to be followed," Najeeb Jung, Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, said.

The aptitude test will help measure the general knowledge and personality of the students. Sibal said the effort is to take forward the reforms in higher education and to ensure that students are judged holistically rather than on the knowledge they have gleaned from books. Hundreds of thousands of students study in Central universities, considered elite institutions of learning.

Sibal and the Vice-Chancellors also decided to launch four-year integrated B.Sc.-B.Ed. (Bachelor of Science-Bachelor of Education) and B.A.-B.Ed. (Bachelor of Arts-Bachelor of Education) courses in order to address the shortage of school teachers. "Students will have the option to get out of the college after three years with just a B.A. or B.Sc. degree or stay for one more year and get a dual degree. This will help create a pool of quality teachers," he said. India is facing a shortage of more than 250,000 teachers in schools and the additional B.Ed. degree would widen the pool of teaching talent.

Source: Mint, September 30, 2010

Central varsities agree on new admission process, says The Economic Times
University education is set to undergo a change. Vice-Chancellors of central universities have agreed on new admission process for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, faculty and student mobility within central universities and a code of conduct for faculty, staff and researchers. In order to improve quality, they have agreed to the idea of global benchmarks, in order to be considered as a "navratna university."

The new selection process would mean that admission could be done on the basis of a combination of marks obtained in class XII and scores obtained in a common aptitude test to be conducted nationally, said HRD minister Kapil Sibal. Weightage given to each of these would be decided by the individual universities. Mr. Sibal said that consensus on the new admission process at the undergraduate level was reached keeping in mind the provisions of the new central university statute which says that admission shall take place on the basis of all-India test. "There was a consensus among Vice-Chancellors of all the central universities to this admission process as the present process puts an immense burden on students," Mr. Sibal said.

A detailed report would be presented within two months by a core committee as to how to implement the decision so that we attempt to start this process in the next academic session. The minister said that the new system would ensure that the students give equal importance to plus two and discourage the rote learning process. "For admission to postgraduate level in these universities," he said the VCs agreed on a admission process which could again be a combination of marks obtained at the graduate level and a common test having some subject component. The modalities would be worked out by the central universities keeping specific requirements in mind. Seven of the 15 new central universities have already adopted a common entrance test for admission.

Mr. Sibal said though the VCs have agreed on this system, unwilling universities can continue with their existing admission process. In an effort to ensure greater student mobility, the system of credit transfer was discussed. This would be in place by the next session. Collaborating universities would enter into bilateral agreements allowing credit transfer and student mobility.

Source: The Economic Times, September 30, 2010
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