The idea of common entrance examination defies common sense

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Since Kapil Sibal has announced the idea of scrapping JEE and having a common entrance examination instead to reduce psychological stress and financial burden, he has become even more infamous in the internet forums, especially among the IIT alumni network as they think that this would dilute the standards of the prestigious institutions of India. However, keeping aside this logic, there are other points to consider why this ‘common  examination’ is defying the common sense.

Before criticizing this idea of common entrance examination, let me applaud his intentions for trying to reform the current educational system. Let me not deny that had I been a student, studying in class 12th, it’s very likely that I would have taken a liking to the idea of taking just a single exam as I definitely didn’t prefer taking more exams. However, now in hindsight, I realize the importance of separate entrance examinations for different colleges.

All these examinations are not standardized and hence, do not test the same set of skills in a candidate. However, I still root for the concept of having multiple entrance examinations as it avoids ‘single point of failure’ (jargon picked up from IT terminology). Had there been a single examination which decides a student’s future institute and unfortunately, he doesn’t perform very well in it due to some reason or he isn’t able to take the examination due to unforeseen circumstances, it shall make the best colleges in country unavailable for him that year. Perhaps, he would have to wait another year for getting into his desired institution. And hence, this is why I believe having a single examination is only going to add to the psychological stress of having just a single shot.

Secondly, let’s try to evaluate if it would reduce the financial burden or not on the candidates. Today, almost every student goes through coaching classes, irrespective of whether he has been hailed as a born genius by his parents since his childhood. Currently, there are coaching institutes who run different coaching programs with different fee structures to prepare candidates for different examinations. Though, there may be some students, who enroll in more than one such programs, but majority of the students are enrolled in a single program. However, with just a single examination, the coaching centers would need to unify their programs. The implication of unification would mean lesser revenue for these coaching centers. Hence, it is highly probable that they would raise up the fee structure or at least retain the higher of fee structure and set it as the common fee structure. In either case, the financial burden doesn’t seem to reduce on the candidate side, with an increased importance of the coaching centers in that scenario.

Well, I could go on cribbing about how the idea of common entrance examination, though noble in its conception, becomes impractical if we try to think about its implementation and its implications, but I would like the readers to reflect their thoughts on it.

2 Replies to “The idea of common entrance examination defies common sense”

  1. I think he also mentioned that the test would be made like GMAT so that people can take it throughout the year or atleast conduct the examinations multiple times during the year.

    1. Oh… I wasn’t aware of that. I assume he is trying to model SAT like examination in India. However, then in the new system, the previous education background, recommendations as well as this common examination score would be taken into account.

      All this seems fine, however, the only issue would be that to ensure that candidates from different educational boards are judged fairly, it would require standardization of all boards existing in India. And it would also imply that a student’s higher education institute for future would depend on his performance in the secondary school, instead of having a competitive entrance examination which gives a shot at achieving desired institute.

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