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CUCET: What was the Debate Around the Exam, Why is it Stalled?

CUCET postponed, may be held next year (Shutterstock/Representative image)

CUCET postponed, may be held next year (Shutterstock/Representative image)

CUCET has been delayed this year due to the pandemic. A DU professor had earlier stated that CUCET is pro upper class.

The Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET) — a common test — for admission to central universities has been deferred. Several universities including the DU was planning to consider CUCET as one of the major gateways for admission this year. The exam, however, has been postponed now and will not be implemented this year.

Even though it was one of the ‘reformative’ steps suggested under the National Education  Policy (NEP) 2020, the entrance test was considered controversial.  There were also debates surrounding the CUCET where many academicians claimed that the exam could be pro-upper-class and will give a boost to coaching culture.

Rajesh Jha, a former member of the executive council of DU had expressed his concerns on the same stating that the CUCET is pro elite class and would leave out the regional students and points that it won’t be inclusive.

Jha had tweeted, “A centralised exam system like CUCET will have pro-upper class & pro-upper caste bias and unfavourable to those who studied in their mother tongue. Those who have access to coaching & better resources will dominate. A good admission policy should be inclusive."

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Even DU aspirants had called the exams “hypocritical" as the board exams have been cancelled and conducting the CUCET would mean lakhs of students appearing for the written exam, which would increase the possibility of a third wave of Covid.

UGC in its statement said, “considering the challenges that emerged last year due to Covid pandemic, this year, for the benefit of the students, the University has decided to retain the Eligibility Criteria as last year," said DU in an official notice.

It is expected to be implemented by the next academic cycle 2022-23, however, by that time the government is likely to announce exam pattern, and other details much in advance to allow students time to prepare. It is likely that the exam will be more of a preliminary test and assess the aptitude of students rather than academic knowledge. The exam is expected to be held in multiple languages.

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first published:July 19, 2021, 18:07 IST