New Education Policy : The CUET rigmarole

Lamneivah Kipgen

The National Education Policy (NEP) was implemented in 2020 replacing the 1986 Education Policy. It created many changes and also introduced many new systems for the development and betterment of the education system in the country.
However, it has raised some questions especially with the recent common entrance test conducted for Central Universities known in short as CUET. Common University Entrance Test or CUET was conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) after the University Grants Commission (UGC) decided to have a more uniformed criterion in evaluating students in the hope to help them from the burden of high marks and high cut offs for getting selected in colleges and universities around the country. But this new initiative taken has created many challenges and drawbacks especially for students.
One of the biggest setbacks is the delay of admission. Students who appeared for CUET are impatient and worried about being left behind by their peers from other institutions who have already started their academic sessions. The disruptions caused by COVID-19 pushed back the academic calendar already delaying admission process in universities and on top of that, the long process of CUET has taken a toll on students. It is evident with the number of times the National Testing Agency or NTA had extended the deadlines, postponed the exam dates and even made amendments on the course offered by different universities and the mapping between examinations and courses which required some of the students who had already submitted their applications to change them again and again. Another problem that arose after the whole process was the confusion of exam centres and exam cities given by the NTA. Students were given their admits cards just two to three days from their exam date where they had to be bombarded with yet another problem of getting exam centres far from their current residence even though they gave their choice for exam centres.
Students who are financially challenged had to worry about the travelling, lodging expenses which eventually made many give up the hope for continuing their studies in Central universities that are a part of CUET. Another problem was the technical glitches that students faced while giving their test. Heavy rains in Kerala and flash floods in Arunachal Pradesh compelled the NTA to reschedule, postpone and even cancel examinations in some of the exam centres. The results for CUET UG were finally released recently but the result for CUET PG is still yet to be announced without any notification on when it will be released making students restless and stressed.
Another thought worth pondering upon is whether NTA have the resources or capability and capacity to handle all these tasks that are being thrust on them. Because at this juncture, it is indeed questionable given the number of issues that have emerged. This clearly contradicts the aim and goal of the National Education Policy to improve the quality of the education and enable India’s education to reach global standards. How can we reach global standards if all students are not given a chance and an opportunity to pursue their education without having to worry about the pressure of losing a whole academic session and lagging behind their peers who are studying in other institutions and well ahead of them. CUET was introduced in line with the new Educational Policy 2020 and in the hope to reduce the pressure and burden on students of appearing multiple entrance test but now it seems like the vision and goal that was set for bringing progress and innovation is clouded in confusion and an atmosphere of uncertainty over the new system being put in place.
After overcoming the hurdle of online classes, lockdowns and pandemic we are yet again faced with the impending feeling of being stuck in the same place with a fear of missing out on our academic journey. All these concerns raise a question on whether CUET will be another trial and error on the rushed effort for the agenda of “one Nation, one entrance test” by the NTA in pursuance of the National Education Policy 2020.

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