Tamil Nadu Opposes National Testing Agency; Says It Will Discourage Rural Students
The move to provide NTA to administer teh entrance tests would discourage rural students and the Government of Tamil Nadu is not for such a proposal, said the education minister.
Opposing a proposal in the National Education Policy 2020 that the National Testing Agency should conduct entrance examinations, Tamil Nadu on Monday told the Centre that the move would discourage rural students. "The NEP 2020 has proposed to conduct entrance examination by the National Testing Agency (NTA). This move would discourage rural students and the Government of Tamil Nadu is not for such a proposal. Further, this will be an added burden on the students," Minister for Higher Education K P Anbalagan said in a letter to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal.
Tamil Nadu has all along opposed the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test. According to the NEP, "The NTA will serve as a premier, expert,autonomous testing organisation to conduct entrance examinations for undergraduate and graduate admissions and fellowships in higher educational institutions. The high quality, range, and flexibility of the NTA testing services will enable most universities to use these common entrance exams - rather than each university conducting their own entrance exam- thereby drastically reducing the burden on students, universities and colleges and the entire education system."
The NTA will work to offer high-quality common aptitude test, as well as specialised common subject exams in sciences, humanities, languages, arts and vocational subjects at least twice every year. Mr Anbalagan, giving the government's initial views on the NEP, said the policy proposal was that higher education institutions should offer degree courses in regional languages and this was already being followed in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu has always followed a two language policy which has been a success, he said, adding the government has already taken a decision to continue with it in future also. On the policy's goal of achieving 50 per cent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) by 2035, he said Tamil Nadu's GER stood at 49 per cent as per the recent All India Survey of Higher Education and the state would reach the 50 per cent target very soon.
Various measures have been taken up, including opening of new colleges and recruitment of teachers and such initiatives would continue, he said, adding that by 2035, Tamil Nadu can achieve an ambitious target of 65 per cent GER. "I would also like to state that Teacher-Students Ratio of Tamil Nadu is 1:17 against the All India Ratio of 1:26."
The NEP 2020 aims at converting the B.Ed programme into a four year Integrated Degree Course and it is welcome as it would enable students to complete the degree early and enter the teaching profession quickly, he said. Mr Anbalagan also flagged the policy's recommendations on institutional restructuring and colleges being either a degree awarding autonomous institutions or a constituent of a university.
"I would like to point out that in Tamil Nadu, out of 587 colleges across the State, only 53 colleges are autonomous and all the other colleges are required to be nurtured suitably by the affiliated Universities and then improve their quality standards. Hence, the present model of Tamil Nadu may be allowed to continue." The Minister told the Centre that Tamil Nadu has appointed a seven member committee, chaired by the Principal Secretary, Higher Education Department, to go through the policy and make suitable recommendations for adoption by the State.