The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has set the stage for a single national-level engineering entrance test.
The government on Friday asked the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to make an exam on the lines of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) mandatory for admissions to BTech course from 2018.
The government has also issued AICTE similar directions for architecture courses. The AICTE has drafted National Entrance Examination for Admission of Students to Engineering Degree Programmes, 2017, for consideration at its next meeting.
Sources said that the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) is likely to become the only test through which institutes will be able to admit engineering students. The Central Board of Secondary Education conducts the exam. It is unclear which agency will conduct the single national-level entrance test in its first year
Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) may be the only exception and continue admitting students through Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced). HRD Ministry’s order to AICTE says that the national engineering entrance test will be conducted in English and regional languages more than once a year.
Officials told The Indian Express that the government will organise national-level web-based counseling and state governments will be invited to join the process. The states and institutes can prescribe their own admission criteria in addition to the entrance test score. AICTE will finalise the modalities for implementation of the step in consultation with the states.
There are 3,288 engineering institutes in the country with over 15 lakh students. Forty entrance tests are conducted for admissions to these institutes. States such as West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana conduct their own examinations for admissions to state engineering colleges. Others such as Uttarakhand, Haryana, Gujarat and Nagaland consider the JEE (Main) score for seat allocations.
The proposed move is likely to face resistance from state governments and private institutes. Sources said that Tamil Nadu opposed the idea last month. But the ministry is confident that states and private institutes will relent as the Supreme Court has passed a verdict in favour of national admission test for admissions to medical and dental colleges. “Those who do not accept the decision risk losing their AICTE recognition,” said an official.
Earlier, attempts to introduce a single entrance test for engineering under the previous government had failed as state governments and IITs opposed it.
Private institutes reacted with caution. A senior BITS-Pilani official said, “We have not seen any such order yet which is why it will be difficult to say how the decision will affect us. We would rather wait to hear from AICTE.” BITS-Pilani conducts its own entrance test called BIT SAT.