Responding to a supplementary question during the Question Hour session today in the Parliament, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar clarified that the newly formed NTA will be conducting entrance examinations not in "online" mode, but, only in "computer-based" mode. According to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister, the students will have to reply on already downloaded answer sheets using a computer mouse. The minister has also said the government is also considering to allow students take the test using paper answer sheets during the transitional first year. The central government has recently announced the formation of National Testing Agency (NTA) which will be authorized to conduct competitive entrance examinations like NEET, JEE Main, UGT NET, CMAT and GPAT.
"Internet connection could be an issue in some areas, therefore, the test will not be in online format," Mr. Javadekar said.
Students, according to the minister, can take training to appear for the computer-based test, while referring the mock test facility which will be made available to the applicants during the examination preparation time.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has been organising national-level medical entrance exam National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and engineering entrance exam Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main till now. CBSE was also assigned to conduct the national level university teacher eligibility test University Grants Commission (UGC) National Eligibility Test (NET) or UGC NET.
Meanwhile, Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) and Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT) were the responsibility of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
According to the new schedule released by the HRD, NEET will be conducted on February and May next year while JEE Main will be held in January and April.
NTA will organise its first official test in December this year, which is UGC NET.
Joint or combined tests only help elites get through: AIADMK
Meanwhile, the AIADMK in the Lok Sabha today opposed centralised entrance test for medical and engineering courses and demanded that state governments be allowed to hold such examinations. When M Thambui Durai (AIADMK), who is also the Deputy Speaker, raised the issue, several members cutting across party lines supported him by thumping on their tables.
Raising the issue during a, Thambi Durai said since the National Testing Agency will hold entrance tests twice a year, students would spend more time preparing for it than concentrate on their Class XII syllabus. He said such joint or combined tests only help elites get through.
He said shortage of doctors in rural areas is because states are not allowed to hold tests. HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said a total of 24 lakh students take the JEE and NEET entrance exams (12 lakh each). State governments hold other tests and nearly 1.50 crore students appear in those tests.
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