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UGC Chief: CUET UG in 3 shifts; JEE, NEET unification proposal feasible

According to UGC Chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar, the National Testing Agency (NTA) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) are ready to make sure that the second edition of the CUET-UG is error-free. 

According to UGC Chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar, the Common University Entrance Exam (CUET)-UG will be administered in three shifts this year rather than two, and plans for its merger with important entrance tests like JEE and NEET would be made public at least two years in advance. 

In an interview with PTI, Kumar stated that the National Testing Agency (NTA) and University Grants Commission (UGC) are ready to guarantee that the second edition of CUET-UG is error-free. 

“With respect to the experience of students last year, I do agree that at a few centres, there were glitches, and this year we are taking care of all issues related to those kinds of experiences that the students went through. We will make sure that this time the students have to focus only on exams and not on any possible glitches, and how are we doing that? 

“We are doing this by identifying the centres well in advance and by looking at the infrastructure that is available, including the computers, bandwidth, and technical personnel at the centres so that the second edition is glitch-free,” he said. 

“I agree there were several glitches during the exam last time, but this year all issues have been ironed out. Keeping in mind the experience of the students, a plan has been chalked out and we are ready to ensure that the candidates just have to worry about the exam and not any glitches,” he said. 

Kumar said that extra computers and extra centres had been arranged as a plan B so that in case there are any glitches, the candidates can be shifted there and the exam for a particular shift will not be cancelled. 

The UGC chief also announced that, in a deviation from the usual pattern, the exam will be conducted in three shifts this year. 

Asked about the proposal to merge CUET with the engineering entrance exam JEE and the medical entrance exam NEET, he said, “It is definitely doable. The details are being worked out, but whenever the merger happens, announcements will be made at least two years in advance so the students can prepare accordingly.” 

“NEP 2020 has clearly said the burden should be reduced on students by having a single national-level entrance examination. We floated the idea to mentally prepare students that NEP has proposed such a thing and that there is a possibility in the coming years. We are working internally, on how to take this forward.” 

The UGC declared in March of last year that all central universities would conduct undergraduate admissions through a common entrance test rather than on the basis of class 12 grades. 

The NTA decided to cancel the exam at several centres after the first edition of the CUET-UG was hampered by difficulties and administered in July last year. Several students were turned away from centres even though some were advised of the cancellation the night before the exam. 

The UGC chairman had then said the exams at certain centres had been cancelled following reports of “sabotage”. 

With 14.9 lakh registrations, the CUET, the common gateway for undergraduate admissions in all central universities, has become the second biggest entrance exam in the country, surpassing JEE-Main’s average registration of nine lakh. 

“We have already received over 11.5 lakh registrations this year. The deadline has been extended till March 30, and we are expecting the applications to surpass last year’s number,” Kumar said. 

Asked about the “normalisation” of scores, which left several aspirants disappointed as they found their marks reduced from their original scores, making it difficult for them to get into their dream college, he said efforts have been made to minimize any error during the process. 

“The schedule of the exam has been compressed this year to 10 days instead of over one and a half months in order to minimize any errors in the normalisation as the variation is greater when the exam is held over a longer period of time,” he said. 

The normalisation formula using the “equipercentile method” has been decided by a panel comprising professors from the Indian Statistical Institute, IIT Delhi, and Delhi University. 

Kumar explained that CUET centres have been identified in three categories. 

“We have categorized the centres into categories A, B, and C. Some of the centres where we faced problems last year were divided into category C and we will not use those centres this time. 

“Category B will have the centres where we need to handhold the centres and some groundwork needs to be done and appropriate infrastructure made available. Category A centres are absolutely fine, ” he said. 

(Source: OTV News

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