No retest will be held for those who missed today's Common University Entrance Test (CUET) for undergraduate admissions to central universities — this was categorically announced by Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, chairman of the University Grants Commission, this evening.
This came after reports from several cities said students missed the test due to sudden changes in centres. Mr Kumar claimed that if students reached on time at a centre other than the one assigned, "they are allowed" — this wasn't seen today, though.
Students had been advised to reach two hours in advance, said the UGC chief, adding that there is a "grace period" of 30 minutes after the start of the exam, but "no one is allowed to enter after that". Some news agencies reported earlier that the students would get a second chance; but the UGC chairman said, "There is no way we can hold a retest for them."
However, the 197 candidates at West Bengal's New Jalpaiguri and Punjab's Pathankot — where the test was cancelled due to technical issues — are likely to get another chance.
Among those who suffered due to change of centre was 18-year-old Aanchal. "My centre was earlier in Dwarka but when I reached there, I was informed that my centre has been changed. I panicked. After a two-hour journey, when we finally reached DU North Campus, they told us that the time for entering has passed," she told news agency PTI.
On whether she'd been informed, she said, "I checked my mail only after I was told at Dwarka that it wasn't my centre. I would've checked earlier if I knew they could make such a change."
The first-ever CUET is being conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) in two phases. Of the 14.9 lakh students who registered across subjects, more than half are in the first phase (July 15, 16, 19 and 20). Phase 2 is in August. Attendance today was about 85 per cent, the UGC chairman said in a video statement sent to journalists. He first gave details of arrangements — 5,000 security cameras, 1,500 mobile-signal jammers — and then made the no-retest announcement.
Some students were able to make it despite last-minute changes. "My brother was assigned a centre in Dwarka. But it was changed to Delhi University. We saw that on email last night and were able to reach on time," a man named Sanchit told PTI.
The CUET will transform the way undergraduate admissions are conducted in the country, especially at popular central universities like Delhi University where Class 12 scores were a deciding factor so far. It's the second largest admission test in India after the medical entrance exam, NEET-UG. Its Phase 2 is specifically for Physics, Chemistry and Biology, to ease pressure on those taking the NEET-UG also this month, on July 17.
"Today the test was conducted successfully at 285 centres across the country," Mr Kumar said. Both phases combined, it is being held in 510 cities, including some outside India.