‘CUET follows multiple choice questions which are very superficial, and don’t test a student’s understanding or ability to express or analyse.’
‘This is not a good way to select students for undergraduate courses.’
“Much more thought has to go into it before they come up with an exam like this,” Professor Anita Rampal, former dean, Faculty of Education, Delhi University,” tells Rediff.com‘s Shobha Warrier in the concluding part of a two-part interview as CUET (the Central Universities Entrance Test for undergraduate studies in the central universities) begins today, July 15.
- Part I: ‘CUET is not a good idea at all’
When you have different states following different syllabus in different languages and different ways of grading, how should they be given admission in the central universities?
The number of central universities is very small compared to the universities each state has.
There are many government state universities and also private universities in each state.
Right now, the CUET is only for the 47 central universities.
But the UGC is saying, they will now push for the same test for the state and private universities too.
They are trying to make a benchmark out of it which is going to be problematic.
So, that’s the worrying situation…
Even conducting such an examination for the central universities is worrying.
If you are going to assess someone only based on the NCERT syllabus, you are disadvantaging a large number of students from different states.
How can you tell someone from Tamil Nadu that s/he has to study the NCERT syllabus if you want to get into say, Delhi University or Hyderabad University?
I think that much more thought has to go into it before they come up with an exam like this.
It is not at all an equitable idea, and not one that respects the federalism of the country as different states follow different curricula since education is also their mandate.
Another point is, CUET follows multiple choice questions which are very superficial, and don’t test a student’s understanding or ability to express or analyse. This is not a good way to select students for undergraduate courses.
Another debate that is going on is, should education be in the Concurrent list? Should it go back to state list?
No, it should not go back to the state list. It should remain in the Concurrent list.
In Tamil Nadu, they say states should have the right to decide what students study…
Yes, education has to be culturally and socially rooted.
So, it has to be decentralised rather than centralised.
Centralised decisions on teachers and curricula are not healthy for an educational system.
Concurrent means both the Centre and the state are involved.
Right now, the Centre is authoritatively dictating decisions on the states, and that is why they are concerned.
When a state curriculum framework is made, it is effectively being dictated by the Centre.
The questionnaires coming from the Centre give no space for the states’ own deliberations, perspectives and decisions. In such a situation, the role of the states becomes very limited.
That’s why some states are questioning the process.
Do you feel the National Education Policy 2020 is against the idea of pluralism?
The rhetoric may mention such terms, but the focus on centralisation runs through the policy.
States like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Bengal are making some efforts to resist this agenda. They realise that what is happening is a dangerous trend.
As an academician and educator, how worried are you?
It is very worrying as the principles of education call for it to be rooted in the social and cultural context of the learner.
The implementation of policies and the practices of education need to be decentralised if we are serious in ensuring full participation of all, with quality and equity.
We cannot push learners into online education or large competitive selections for a small number of affordable colleges.
To honour the growing aspirations of our youth, we need more investment in good quality public institutions.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com
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