Tuesday, June 19, 2007

T.K. Arun on "examination hell"

He focuses on a different aspect: multiplicity of exams that a student has to take for pretty much the same purpose:

The Indian system of selection through serial admission tests is nothing short of crazy. Every state government conducts its own entrance tests for engineering and medical degrees separately. There is an all-India entrance test, over and above these, for a large pool of engineering colleges, conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education.

And also its counterpart pre-medical test as well. Then there are separate countrywide entrance tests exclusive to prestigious institutes such as the Indian Institute of Technology, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology, etc. A few hundred other institutes conduct their own admission tests, as well, with test centres strewn across the country, to which hundreds of thousands of students flock, duly escorted by parents.

These tests cost the student over Rs 1,000 apiece, as a rough estimate. If a million students take an average of five entrance tests — in places like Delhi, the average could be double that number — that means a collective expenditure of Rs 500 crore. That is just for the students to take the tests. Expenses on coaching, travel to the test site and back are substantial and extra. A few thousand crore rupees of private expenditure on education gets wasted on assorted entrance tests.

Arun urges the creation one, nationwide exam. It's a wonderful idea, which we must pursue vigorously.

Several years ago, a sharp reduction in the number of MBA entrance exams was recommended by none other than the Supreme Court. It led to discussions about the possibility of all our leading management institutions coming together to offer just one exam. I recall -- and my memory is rather fuzzy here -- that the IIMs refused to play ball. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court took its eyes off the ball, with the result that we continue to live with a large number of MBA entrance exams.


  1. Gabbar said...

    Having cleared both IIT and IIM I think I can relate to this post. While giving IIT I also gave entrance exams for AIEEE, DCE, Kurukshetra. Most of my friends also gave many many more entrance exams.

    Definitely entrance exmas, their fees and their preparation is hell, but with no confidence in CBSE exams there is very little choice for universities.

    Once in a discussion about it, I concluded with some friends that is such an exam fair, where a person prepares for 2 years and has one bad day and does not get selected. But then India is an overpopulated country and there are limited seats and there has to be a selection criteria, who said it would be fair.