Majorities of universities in Jammu and Kashmir have announced for the first time that undergraduate level admissions to all colleges affiliated with the respective universities will be through the Common University Entrance Test (CUET).
The move has created chaos and confusion among students who are still busy with their ongoing Year 12 exam. The announcement to proceed with UG admissions to colleges came at an inopportune time that has left students with a dilemma. There is no understanding, no awareness among the students of the CUET.
The CUET is a computer-based test administered annually by the National Testing Agency (NTA), which is responsible for administering entrance tests for various universities and colleges across the country.
The test assesses a student’s aptitude and proficiency in various subjects including math, physics, chemistry, biology and general knowledge.
The introduction of CUET at this time has presented more challenges than opportunities or benefits for the students in Jammu and Kashmir. Universities and autonomous colleges have adopted the CUET without having first created awareness, through seminars and campaigns, that students have been made familiar with the new higher education system.
Undoubtedly, CUET has come up with some advantages, including not requiring students to appear for multiple entrance exams. A single test (CUET) allows students to apply to multiple colleges, reducing the financial burden and stress associated with preparing for multiple exams.
CUET also ensures that students from rural and remote areas have access to the same opportunities as their urban counterparts.
Another benefit of CUET is that it promotes fairness and transparency in the admissions process. Under CUET, all students are evaluated on the same criteria, eliminating the possibility of discrimination or favoritism. Another aspect of CUET is the repeal of the old practice of admitting students by ‘catchment area’. Now students are admitted on merit.
However, universities and colleges in J&K have suddenly issued the notification for CUET acceptance, leaving the potential applicants across the J&K UT in a state of chaos and confusion.
With the result, the students from Jammu and Kashmir may not be able to benefit from it this year. Students are encouraged to prepare for the CUET if they have yet to take their 12th grade exam. As a result, these students are now doubly stressed over the CUET announcement. In addition, the students who are pursuing medical and engineering exams are at this point in a bind as to whether or not to apply for CUET. It is evident that these students need to focus on their ongoing exams, followed by preparation for NEET and JEE.
It is important to mention that the NEP 2020 implemented by the J&K government offers flexibility and freedom for students to study with ease. But the apparent mismanagement of the related components of the program wreaks havoc in students’ minds and leaves them on the receiving end.
“It was not the right decision to announce the decision to proceed with CUET as the students are neither prepared nor have any idea as they are still busy with the 12th grade exams. The government should have given the students some breathing room,” an official said.
Given the uncertainty about CUET, the government should have announced it in October or November last year or during the winter holiday season. The announcement should have been followed by several school and college level awareness programs by inviting students to make them aware of the scheme of things.
Previously, the deadline for submitting online applications for CUET was March 12, but this has been extended to March 30 due to student ignorance. But the NTA and UGC may need to be extended by two weeks until students have a clear idea of the process.
“The government made a decision in a hurry that will definitely cause great harm to many students. Universities and colleges need to reach out to students who live in distant places,” said one college professor.
While students in the soft zone areas are appearing on their exams, students in the hard zone areas have yet to appear on their grade 12 exams. Now doubt it will not stop them from registering for CUET online but considering their state of mind it will be really difficult for them to focus on CUET while they still have to appear in their 12th grade exams.
Another concern of CUET is that the aspirants may have to travel 50 to 60 kilometers since their testing centers for CUET can be designated at each college.
“Students tend not to get employability based on the UG degree. So this will cause inconvenience to a lot of people,” the college professor said.
While the issue has caused chaos everywhere, the government should have made this issue public for feedback.
“It’s a unilateral decision. There is no problem in competition, but we need time. They should have started doing this from the next academic session,” Misba Bhat said while expressing concern about the issue.
To address the concerns of students and other stakeholders, the government and universities need to raise awareness of CUET among students in Jammu and Kashmir. This is a crucial step towards increasing access to higher education and improving the quality of education in the region. By creating an awareness of the test and its benefits, students can better prepare for it and increase their chances of success.
Amid the chaos and uncertainty, the senior secretary of the Department of Higher Education (HED) said efforts are being made to raise awareness of CUET among students and other stakeholders through holding seminars and other means.
“We’re trying our best to raise awareness of this, but I don’t know why it’s not growing. Students are busy with their 12th grade exams but we are trying our best as best as we can,” Alok Kumar told Greater Kashmir.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspectives contained in this article do not reflect the views of GK.