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One nation, one test for engineering schools (Chennai Engineering Colleges - Livemint)

But for the exception of two states, India is poised to move to a single entrance test for admission to engineering colleges across the country possibly as early as next year.

Chennai Engineering Colleges

This was decided at the state education ministers’ conference convened by the human resource development (HRD) ministry in the Capital on Tuesday. The country has around 4,000 engineering colleges and at least 1.5 million students enter them every year.

Engineering Graduation

HRD minister Kapil Sibal said at the end of the meeting that “the proposal for a common examination process for admission to engineering programmes was supported unanimously”.

A uniform national test will reduce the demand for capitation fees that engineering institutes normally command, just as it will ease the stress on aspiring students, who otherwise have to take multiple entrance examinations. It will also diminish the influence of coaching centres on entrance preparation and re-emphasize the importance of class XII board exams across India.

Unlike the central government-funded technical institutions (CFTIs), including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs)—which are willing to begin the process from next year—most state governments prefer to roll it out from 2014.

A final decision will be made after the states submit their points of view on the starting year as well the relative weights to be accorded to the class XII results and performance in the the joint entrance examination (JEE) main and the JEE advanced exam.

Assam education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “We are in favour of a common entrance test, but in 2014. We need time to prepare ourselves and bring changes in the school board, and it will take not less than two years and also we want to give students a two-year window to adjust to the new system.”

Endorsing the move, Rajasthan education minister Brij Kishore Sharma said a common entrance will help the state board improve standards and will bring an end to capitation fees. The move is expected to have an impact on coaching schools, including those located in clusters such as Kota in the state. Sharma, however, declined to comment on the impact of the move on such schools. He said one entrance exam will allow students even from backward areas to compete at the national level and the move will reduce the money spent on having to sit for multiple entrance exams.

P.K. Shahi, Bihar’s HRD minister, said, “In principle, we support the idea of common entrance exam for engineeringComputer Technology Articles, but (the) IITs should not stay away from the common format.”

Assam’s Sarma and Gujarat education minister Ramanlal Vora also supported the idea that the IITs should adopt the process.

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