In major exam reforms, NTA, not CBSE, to hold online tests

In a move being billed as a “first in the history of competitive examinations”, the Centre on Saturday announced that from 2019, aspirants can take the Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE Main) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) twice in a year. “This gives a choice to the students, especially if they fail to appear in a test due to unwarranted circumstances,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

“The students can appear both times in NEET and the better of the two exaam scores would be taken in account for admission,” Javadekar announced at a Press conference.

The other major examination reforms announced by the Centre include the online conduct of NEET, JEE and National Eligibility Test (NET) exams by the newly-formed National Testing Agency (NTA) instead of the CBSE, which currently handles the responsibility but whose credibility took a major hit after the secondary exams’ paper was leaked.

This is the second major decision in recent times by the Javadekar-led HRD Ministry. It had last week announced the setting up of an overarching body, Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA), for higher educational institutions after scrapping decades old university watchdog University Grants Commission (UGC).

“The exams will be more secure and on par with international norms. There will be no issues of leakage and it would be more student-friendly, open, scientific and a leak-proof system,” Javadekar said.

While NET would be conducted in December and JEE (Mains) twice a year, in January and April, NEET would be conducted in February and May.

The NET, a qualifying test for admission in higher educational institutions in the country, would be the first exam to be conducted by the newly formed body.

On an average, every year about 11 lakh aspirants take the JEE and NET examinations and about 13 lakh appear for the NEET.

The NTA would also conduct NEET Management Admission Test (CMAT) and Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT).

One of the features of exams to be conducted by the NTA is that it will give more chances to students thereby giving adequate opportunity to bring out his/her best and reducing stress which develops due to single exam conducted on one single day in the year. However, sitting in both the tests will not be compulsory.

JEE, NEET twice a year

The two tests (each for JEE (Main) & NEET (UG)) will be equated using psychometric methods.

NEET is conducted for admissions to medical institutions across the country. Till this academic session, the CBSE conducted NEET on behalf of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Health Ministry and NET on behalf of the UGC.

The NTA would benefit the students and they would have the option of going to computer centres from August-end to practise for the exams. The tests would be computer-based and the exams would be held over a span of four-five days and students would have the option of choosing the dates.

“The syllabus, question formats, language and fees for the exams would not be changed,” said the HRD Minister.

The time table of the exams to be conducted by the NTA would be uploaded on the Ministry’s website.

The IITs would continue to conduct Joint Entrance Examination – Advanced exam.

The Union Cabinet had approved setting up of the NTA to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.

Javadekar said that the NTA will bring qualitative difference in the examination process by its focus on research and scientific test design using services of experts, researchers, statisticians, psychometricians, test item writers and education specialists.

Source: Daily Pioneer

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