The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recently announced plans to combine NEET and JEE Main with CUET in an effort to bring all entrance exams under a single umbrella. The aim is to create a single entrance exam for all purposes. NEET, JEE and CUET are all conducted by NTA. According to UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar, the move towards ‘one nation, one entrance exam’ was in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. While JEE is the gateway exam for engineering studies, NEET is the same for UG medical studies. CUET, the Common University Entrance Test launched in 2022, is likely to be held twice a year from 2023 onwards and is set to eliminate the need to appear in multiple entrance exams, a move that should reduce the burden on students to a great extent.
On the ‘one nation, one exam’ which is designed to eliminate the need to appear in multiple entrances, Shri Kumar, while talking to a news outlet, said, “After the introduction of CUET, we now have three major entrance examinations in the country — NEET, JEE and CUET — and most students take at least two of these examinations, and many may even write all three. In NEET, you have Biology, Physics and Chemistry, and in JEE you have Maths, Physics and Chemistry. So, two subjects are anyway common there and the same subjects are also used in CUET for admission in various universities. So, why should we subject the students to multiple entrance examinations. According to Shri Kumar, the CUET exam may be conducted more than once from next year. “Let’s have one common entrance examination maybe in the coming year or next year, but conduct it multiple times in a year, maybe twice in a year so that students will have an opportunity to write it a second time and get admission in disciplines of their choice.”
“NEP will play a major role in achieving the goal of Viksit Bharat”
Union Education and Skill Development Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan has appealed citizens to participate in the Citizen Survey for National Curriculum Framework for developing a new curriculum. A dynamic National Curriculum Framework in line with the NEP 2020 will play a major role in achieving the goal of Viksit Bharat he added. He further said that the development of a vibrant, dynamic, inclusive and futuristic National Curriculum Framework is essential for integrating cultural-rootedness along with global outlook, freeing education from colonial hangover and instilling a deeper sense of pride in our next generations. Ministry of Education has invited suggestions of the public through an online public consultation survey for the formulation of National Curriculum Framework and subsequently design of syllabus and textbooks.
A tech platform – website and mobile app has been developed for the execution of the work at scale and in a paperless manner. Using the bottom-up approach, district level consultations, mobile app -based surveys, state level consultations through State Focus Groups and State Steering Committee have been conducted by the States and UTs to reach out the stakeholders like parents, Anganwadi workers, teachers and students, etc. at the grassroots level and collect their views and opinion about the future of school education, early childhood care and education, teacher education and adult education. At the national level also the National Focus Groups and National Steering Committee have been engaged to deliberate on various issues and concerns, including the interaction with various ministries, autonomous bodies, NGOs and Corporates, Philanthropic agencies etc. for collecting and collating valuable inputs for formulation of NCF. A mandate document for the formulation of NCF has been developed for guiding the stakeholders in the process. All stakeholders including teachers, headmasters/ principals, school leaders, educationists, parents, students, community members, NGOs, experts, public representatives, artists, artisans, farmers and anybody who has an interest in school education and teacher education are invited to participate in this online survey being conducted in 23 languages, including the languages in the VIII Schedule of our Constitution.
The UGC chairman said that the NTA has learnt from the August 4 episode and has since rectified its errors at any and every exam centre. In addition to this, the NTA will also now set up specific exam centres across the country which will be well equipped with the computers and other requirements, and will be managed by the NTA too. These NTA exam centres will be used specifically for such exams, along with other established centres, he told indianexpress.com.
Talking to Panchjanya on the internationalisation of education, Shri Kumar said, “At present, 50,000 students from 165 countries are studying in India. Out of this two-third of the students come from five nations. On the other hand, about nine lakh Indian students are studying in universities abroad. We need to reverse this trend. Several important steps are being taken by the UGC and the Government of India towards internationalisation of the Indian higher education sector. These steps are being taken keeping in mind the National Education Policy 2020. Discussions are going on regarding UGC regulations, joint and dual degree programmes for academic collaboration between Indian and foreign higher educational institutions. There have also been talks with Australian High Commission officials. There will also be talks with many other foreign universities. UGC is making guidelines. In the coming time, campuses of foreign universities can also open in the country. By this we will be able to save foreign exchange and talent drain.”
According to Shri Kumar, the UGC is in the process of drawing up guidelines to allow foreign universities to set up their campuses in Bharat. A committee has been set up in this connection and the discussions are in the final stages. Some foreign institutions are in touch with us. This will help raising the standard of education in the country. Moreover, Indian students need not have to go abroad which is a very costly affair. On steps taken by the UGC to improve higher education in Bharat, the UGC Chairman said, “The primary goal towards implementing the National Education Policy is that every household in the country should have access to education. It is also our priority to provide skill and employable education to the students. UGC is emphasising on the use of digital technology along with the use of existing infrastructure (university-college) in the country so that both go together and students get good education opportunities.”
On Digital University, Shri Kumar said, The UGC is preparing the blueprint for a digital university. “Digital University will start the first semester studies from January or July 2023. Along with regular courses in the digital university, there will also be courses based on skill, employment. Along with this, employed people will also be able to easily take admission in this university to increase their skills,” he added.
On UGC making portal for recruiting teachers, he told a news outlet: “Right now the applicant has to apply for the teaching post in different universities and it is a long process for the universities as well. The portal which is being prepared, the universities will be registered on it and information about all the posts will be there. Applicants will also register themselves and they will get information about the vacant posts of every university. This will make it easier for the applicant. His application will reach different universities. UGC will also get the information about the vacant and filled posts in every university easily.”