CUET creates confusion, not uniformity in colleges, say critics

A year on, students hunt for clarity


March 9, 2023

/ By / New Delhi

CUET creates confusion, not uniformity in colleges, say critics

The cumbersome and complex procedures of CUET leave students bewildered

The University Grant Commission implemented the Common University Entrance Examination in 2022 with the goal of bringing uniformity to admission procedures. It was supposed to bring down the barriers of skyrocketing cutoffs and to provide opportunity to the students who had previously been denied admission to the central universities. However, complex procedures and poor communication leave students bewildered even a year after its launch.

5/5 - (210 votes)

On February 20, the University Grants Commission (UGC) wrote to two leading central universities, Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia on the controversial issue of Common University Entrance Test (CUET) saying that all central universities have to use CUET for admission to undergraduate programmes. The UGC took cognisance of the issue as both the universities had previously announced their unwillingness to accept CUET.

CUET has been a subject of controversy its incorporation in 2022 as several colleges and Universities have opposed it. A major shift came in this on October 19, 2022, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravi Kumar rejected the plea Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College against Delhi High Court judgement of September 12, 2022 in which the court had asked the college to follow CUET. While rejecting the plea, the Apex Court said that colleges must give admissions for Undergraduate courses only on the basis of the CUET scores, and not hold interviews for general category students.

“For the past 15 years, I have been teaching the students of Bihar Board. Although many of my students have been top 10 scorers in Bihar, they have failed to make it to colleges like Hindu, Stephen’s, and Ramjas because of their towering cutoffs. CUET has eliminated the discriminatory process and provided equal opportunity to all students, regardless of which boards they chose during their 12th grade board examinations. Many of my students have cleared the CUET and gotten into the colleges of their dreams,” Dilip Kumar, a teacher from the Nawada district of Bihar tells Media India Group.

“While this has given students the opportunity to participate in the entrance examination for central universities, the syllabus for the test is based on the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), whereas most state boards have their own syllabus and curriculum that is not entirely in accordance with the NCERT. Therefore, the students of the state boards have to prepare for the test based on the NCERT, on the contrary, the students of the CBSE and ICSE boards get an advantage as their board syllabus is based on the NCERT itself,” Kumar adds.

Cumbersome and complex procedures leave students bewildered

Introduced by the Ministry of Education for the admission of students to 45 central universities in their undergraduate programs, CUET is the revamped version of the Central University Common Entrance Test (CUCET), which was introduced in 2010 to admit students to seven central universities for 1,500 seats in 41 undergraduate, postgraduate, and integrated courses. The National Testing Agency (NTA)  is assigned to conduct the CUET examinations.

To apply for the undergraduate courses in the listed central universities, students are required to fill out an online application for CUET to get access to the student login portal. They must enter their information into the portal and select their preferred universities from a list. The students have been given the option of selecting more than one course and they can also select multiple courses. The universities, however, have been given the prerogative to determine their own qualifying criteria, and students applying to them should meet them.

“This is one of the most confusing parts of CUET. If the universities have been given the option to set their own criteria for admission, it no longer remains a uniform test. Subsequently, because of the CUET, the students have to fill out two different applications and pay twice for that. Although I got admitted to Delhi University, it was a difficult terrain to walk upon as the procedure was quite complex, and we were not given proper information about it. Even this year, a lot of students are struggling with it,” Aayush Anand, a student Dayal Singh College, Delhi University, tells Media India Group.

The admission procedure further requires the students to appear for the entrance test at the allocated centres, allocated as per availability and the preference of students. The syllabus for the entrance examination will be determined by the respective university based on the courses the students opt for. Once the results for the entrance tests are announced, candidates are required to provide preference of the University. The university thereafter allocates the college from the list of opted colleges based upon the CUET results.

“The process seems quite complex which has created a lot of confusion among the students. I had applied for CUET last year and got enrolled at Delhi University. There were many misunderstandings due to a lack of communication, which continues to persist among the majority of students. It would have been better if the responsible authorities could have established proper means of communication and helplines for students. It is a wonderful opportunity for all of us, especially for state board students, because the marking procedure of these state boards is designed in such a way that students could not score closer let alone equal to the students from the CBSE board. This has also provided opportunities for society’s marginalised groups,” Shubham Raj, a student at the University of Delhi’s Saheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, tells Media India Group.

What has changed after CUET?

Before CUET, the universities used to release their own cut-off lists based on the 12th grade marks of the applicant students for admissions to undergraduate courses. This resulted in skyrocketing cutoffs at several central universities, including Delhi University. As across India, examinations for the 12th grade are conducted by various bodies, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), and the state boards of different states of the country and as all these boards have different evaluation patterns, the results of the students vary significantly.

“The CUET is a common university entrance test which aims to provide equal opportunity to students from different school boards. It considers students from different boards at similar levels with wide outreach. Earlier, many universities were admitting students based on their XII-grade marks, so equal opportunity was not there, now this CUET will put an end to this system. It has also streamlined the admissions procedure across India by putting a stop to the ever increasing cut-offs and encouraging students to engage in critical thinking,” Pooja Baweja, Associate Professor at Maitreyi College of University of Delhi, tells Media India Group.

Implementation of CUET is expected to provide the equality of opportunity to all the students across the country, but it may fall short of the goal, she adds. “Although CUET has been introduced by the Ministry of Education (MoE), Government of India, to give equal opportunity to all, there are chances that underprivileged students from rural and tribal backgrounds may find it difficult due to a lack of information and infrastructure. It may also bring a boom to the coaching industry like it has been seen in the medical and engineering fields. All parents cannot pay the hefty fees, and thus it needs to be taken care of. Proper guidelines are required from the authorities so that there is a minimum adverse impact on the poor and underprivileged students,” Baweja says.



    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *