Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

The impact of the CUET is likely to be harsher on disadvantaged sections


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.

About CUET

  • 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.

Way forward

  • 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.

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