In a strongly worded letter, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has hit out at the Centre for bringing in the Common University Entrance Examination (CUET) for central universities, calling it a ‘regressive’ and ‘undesirable’ move. Not only will it sideline the country’s diverse school education systems, but also favour the mushrooming of coaching centres and put students from Tamil Nadu in a disadvantageous position, he said.
Making a case against CUET, Stalin urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the national level test.
In the letter, Stalin said this “regressive step” has clearly proved to his government that NEET for MBBS admissions was not an isolated instance. It was just a forerunner, a definitive prelude to the larger attempt of the Union government to centralise higher education admissions, the Chief Minister alleged.
According to the CM, the national tests like CUET and NEET, would sideline the “diverse school education systems” across the country, and grossly weaken the relevance of overall development oriented long-form learning in schools. Moreover, it would make students more dependent on coaching centres to improve their entrance examination scores.
#CUET based on NCERT syllabus will
i) sideline our diverse school education systems;
ii) favour mushrooming of coaching centres;
iii) place students from our state in a disadvantageous position.
Hence, I urge Hon’ble @PMOIndia to withdraw this regressive & undesirable step. pic.twitter.com/YNkfAG4d7g
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) April 6, 2022
Clearly, any entrance examination based on the NCERT syllabus would not offer an equal opportunity to students who come from the different State Board syllabi across the country.
“I wish to reiterate that any entrance examination that is based on NCERT syllabus will not provide an equal opportunity to all students who have studied in varied State Board syllabi across the country,” the CM said.
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Students from state board syllabus constitute more than 80 per cent of the total student population and these students invariably hail from the marginalised sections, Stalin pointed out. Therefore, CUET would put a majority of the students in a disadvantageous position to secure admission to central varsities, he said, adding that this NCERT based syllabus will drastically reduce the number of students from Tamil Nadu in various Central Universities and their affiliated colleges.
People in Tamil Nadu were worried that like NEET, CUET too would be against the interests of the rural poor and socially marginalised students. Tests such as these would only boost coaching centres, he added.
Further, Stalin said that the indirect pressure from the UGC on non-central varsities to adopt CUET is likely to cement ‘this centralisation process’ of education. A fallout of this would be that with time, the state syllabus-based school education system would be undercut forcing students to opt for costly schools adopting NCERT syllabus.
Taking all these factors into account, Stalin said his government viewed this decision of the Centre to make CUET mandatory for all central varsities as “yet another undesirable step” in the “current trend of the Union government” to sideline both the roles of state governments, as well as the significance of school education system.
“Therefore, I strongly urge you to withdraw this step immediately,” reiterated Stalin.
The University Grants Commission has announced that from the academic year 2022-2023, admissions to various courses in all central universities funded by it would be done only through CUET to be conducted by the National Testing Agency. Also, it has said that the marks secured by students in CUET may also be taken into account at state, private and deemed universities for their admission process if they want to.
Some of the centrally funded educational institutes in Chennai are the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Indian Maritime University, Madras Institute of Development Studies etc.
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