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India is planning to set up a National Testing Authority to conduct admission tests to engineering colleges on the lines of America's Educational Testing Services that holds the SAT every year. Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal today said; the NTA would be set up through an Act of Parliament. The government has been preparing to introduce a single national entrance test for engineering that will replace the present multiple tests. The HRD ministry, which wants to start the exam in 2014, is in the process of talking to state governments. “At present, the task before the ministry is to convince all the states to agree to the single national entrance. Then the bill will come in Parliament for creation of NTA. It will take some time", a ministry official said.
Before that, in 2013, it plans to hold one entrance test for about 60 central engineering institutions, including the IITs, NITs, IIITs and the IIEST, by merging the IIT-JEE and the All India Engineering Entrance Examination. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will hold this exam. The government has created a Centre for Assessment and Evaluation Study (CAES) within the CBSE to give research support for smooth conduct of the test. “Our aim is to convert CAES into NTA by an Act. This will be a statutory body meant for conduct of engineering entrance test every year,” Sibal said. At present, there are multiple engineering entrance tests: the IITs conduct the IIT-JEE, the NITs and IIITs take students who clear the AIEEE, the state governments hold state-level JEEs and some deemed universities conduct their own tests. Since this is inconvenient for students, the government is pushing for a single entrance test. “At present, the CAES will provide research support to the CBSE on a number of issues like how to make the test bias-free. It means the CAES will suggest what kind of questions are to be set to ensure that rural students and children from socially backward classes are not disadvantaged”, CBSE Chairman, Vineet Joshi said. Once the NTA is established, it would conduct the national entrance at least twice a year, helping students to improve their performance and get into the college of their choice. Earlier, a committee on IIT-JEE reforms headed by IIT Kharagpur, Director Damodar Acharya had suggested creation of an NTA as a statutory body to conduct entrance examinations. The committee said “the NAT should hold the national engineering entrance online and thrice a year”. The IIMs are also planning to convert the Common Admission Test (CAT) into an independent agency that will conduct exams for admission into the IIMs and other B-schools across the globe. The IIMs want to make CAT an alternative to the US-based Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) whose scores are accepted by leading B-Schools internationally. “There is a plan to make CAT an independent agency. The CAT will have resources to conduct the test. The plan is yet to take final shape,” IIM Calcutta Director Shekhar Chaudhury said.
Courtesy: The Telegraph
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