From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Gross Enrolment Ratio
Mains level : Paper 2- Issues with CUET
The introduction of the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) can be seen as a step in the direction of aligning India with international standards.
- The UGC’s rationale for introducing the test is to address the disparity in the allocation of marks by different examination boards, and provide a “level playing field” to students from different sections of society and diverse regions.
- The CUET has been envisaged as a corrective.
- Of the 48 central universities, 45 seem to have the requirements to institute the test.
- The CUET is going to decide the fate of approximately 1.3 crore students for roughly 5.4 lakh undergraduate seats in 45 central universities.
Issues with the CUET
- Students to contend with two examinations: The marks obtained in the board examination will remain vital for admission to state and private universities as well as job applications.
- The students will now have to contend with two examinations.
- Impetus to coaching classes: Many educationists argue that the new examination is likely to give an impetus to coaching classes.
- Coaching and private tuition will flourish without much concern for quality in the preparation of the study material.
- Not all State Boards prescribe NCERT textbooks: The CUET syllabus will be based on NCERT (under the Ministry of Education) textbooks even though not all state boards prescribe these books.
- The coaching industry stands to take advantage of this situation and students will have a hard time navigating two sets of textbooks.
- The impact is likely to be harsher on disadvantaged sections of the society for whom access to higher education is seen as the only route to upward mobility.
- The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is constantly increasing for higher secondary education (51.4 per cent according to UDISE, 2019-20) and higher education (27.1 per cent to AISHE, 2019-20).
- The figures indicate that higher education has acquired a mass base in the country.
- This has important implications for a knowledge-based economy and society.
- Maintaining the momentum of GER would require more teachers, schools and higher education institutions of quality and slow down the rush for a few but highly sought after universities and colleges.
The new examination would put additional pressure on both students and teachers at a time when they are trying to overcome the exactions of the pandemic. It appears to diverge from the objective of the National Education Policy-2020 — equitable access to good quality higher education for all students.