Sunday, February 28, 2010

Common Entrance Test for Professional Courses

State boards across the country have agreed to implement a core curriculum in science and mathematics at the higher secondary level. The decision taken by the Council of School Board of Education (COBSE) on February 16, 2010 will be implemented from 2011-12. The apex body for all school boards and councils also agreed to work towards a common entrance examination for professional courses by 2013. With concerns about stress faced by students mounting, the core curriculum is expected to be implemented smoothly. Putting in place a common entrance examination for courses like engineering, medicine may prove to be difficult, as it would mean doing away with entrance exams like IIT-JEE. Both decision would be referred to the Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE)for approval.

“The COBSE approved the core curriculum in science and mathematics. This will be accepted by all the state boards at the senior higher secondary level. Hence forth, the core curriculum will be taught in the science stream in all schools,” HRD minister Kapil Sibal said. The COBSE meeting on February 16 was attended by representative of 20 boards. There are 41 boards across the country. Officials said that those not present had conveyed their assent to the two proposals discussed at the meeting. This move to put in place a core curriculum would ensure uniformity in content as well as provide a ‘level playing field’ for students across the country. The core curriculum has been prepared for physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology. The boards have been given three months to prepare a core curriculum for commerce. The consensus is on the content of the syllabus and state boards will continue to determine the mode of examination.

The idea of a core curriculum in science and math and a move towards a common admission test for professional courses has been in the works. At the last meeting of COBSE in August 2009, Mr Sibal had placed the proposal before the 41 boards for their consideration. COBSE agreed that the school boards will work towards a common entrance examination for admission of students in higher courses, including engineering and medicine, by 2013. A national taskforce will be set up to consider nature and modalities of the entrance test. It will consult the school boards, institutes like IITs and AIIMS to examine whether the proposed entrance will be able to cater to the requirements of all types of institutes. The taskforce will need to work out the weightage it could give to class XII board examination. It will consider the manner in which existing entrance examinations, especially those associated with a brand value like IITJEE, AIIMS entrance exam, could be brought under one umbrella. This could prove to be a challenge.

A similar effort to had been made under the NDA government. The effort was opposed by many established institutions. Instead, the government had to settle for a bouquet of five or six tests, with institutes opting for any one of them to select students. The ministry has made it clear that the single admission test would mean the end of the road for admission tests like the IITJEE. Ministry joint secretary S C Khuntia said, “We will work for a common entrance test for every stream. One examination for all engineering institutions, which means IITs will also follow it. In that parameter, there should not be any separate IIT entrance. We have to work in that direction. As per the score of the entrance, selection will be made. Let’s say, the top rankers may go to IITs, the second best will go to institutions which are a step below IITs, so on. The system will benefit students most.” The ministry is keen on putting this single entrance examination in place at the same time as the “core curriculum” students are graduating. “By 2013 we should have in place a common system for common admission into professional institutions in the country,” Mr Sibal said. The minister said that “this will smoothen the admission process into engineering, medical, economics and commerce courses.” A single test, the minister felt would reduce the admission-related stress of students.

Board representatives were upbeat about the core curriculum though the jury still appeared to be out on the common entrance examination. “This is a good step to have a common curriculum. We have no problem on implementing it. However, there may be certain difficulties in holding a CET. While holding a common entrance test for the country, the state’s interest has to be protected in state level institutes,” Bihar School Exam Board chairman A K P Yadav said.

Source: The Economic Times, February 17, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive