The National Testing Agency (NTA) announced Sunday that candidates who could not sit for the test between August 4-6 will now be accommodated in fresh slots between August 24-28 for which new admit cards will also be issued in a few days.
On Sunday, the fourth day of CUET-UG second phase which started on August 4, exams took place across 276 centres. The NTA did not announce any cancellations for the second straight day, in a respite from August 4 and 5, when major glitches hit the examination process inconveniencing over 50,000 candidates.
NTA sources said the agency, in consultation with the University Grants Commission (UGC), reviewed the factors behind the glitches over the weekend in meetings in which Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also participated. CUET is a computer-based test like JEE Mains.
“Taking lessons from our experience of paper leaks and breach in confidentiality in the past, we had decided to keep the window between the upload of question papers and the beginning of the exam as short as possible. But on August 4, poor internet connectivity hit the process, causing up to two-hour delays. The CUET question papers are larger in size as compared to JEE Mains or NEET and take longer to get uploaded,” said an official.
Moreover, in the case of around 50 centres, majority in Delhi and NCR, local observers reached late. “For the central command centre to upload the papers, the centre in-charges need to be present. They, in turn, make it available to the students. Also, when there are delays, they need to handle the situation with sensitivity. Instead there were reports of misbehaviour,” the official added.
While 9.1 lakh students registered for the exam, each one of them are appearing in multiple papers, effectively making the number of candidates 14.4 lakh. With 61 subjects on offer, and every candidate allowed to sit for a maximum of nine papers, 54,555 unique combinations of subjects have been chosen in the exam which is being conducted in 13 languages.
UGC chairperson Prof M Jagadesh Kumar said the scale and diversity of CUET-UG, second biggest in terms of registrations after NEET, sets it apart. “The NTA took a lot of care in setting up the papers so there are no complaints on difficulty level or anything related. That was a major challenge as there were apprehensions regarding out of syllabus questions due to lack of uniformity among various boards,” Prof Kumar said.
Initially, the NTA had decided to offer retests to the affected candidates between August 12-14. “As many as 15,811 candidates requested a date different from 12 to 14 August. Similarly, many candidates have approached NTA requesting not to schedule their examination between 12 to 14 August as a series of festivals are falling during this period,” NTA senior director (exams) Sadhana Parashar said.
CUET-UG scores will be used by 90 universities – 44 Centre-run, 12 state government-run, 21 private and 13 deemed – to admit students to undergraduate degree courses in the 2022-23 session.