Restore CET's pristine form

Two things are worth noting: First, the Karnataka CET is rated as one of the best entrance examinations conducted across the country. Second, and more important, a government department has set high standards in terms of quality, objectivity and transparency, thereby destroying the myth that quality can be ensured only by the private sector.

If we carefully analyse the path trodden by Karnataka CET, we observe two notable trends:

a. Process of consolidation by bringing in systemic changes over a period of time.
b. The attempts of private management lobby in a very subtle manner to scuttle the progress.

Some may feel that I am a little unfair to private managements who have equally contributed for qualitative upgradation of professional education in Karnataka. But it is obvious that they have consistently made inroads in slightly weakening the system.

Concept of inclusiveness

The evolution of CET was based on the concept of inclusiveness. However, COMED-K was successful in diluting the process by conducting a separate entrance examination in the last few years. They were also successful in pressurising the government in getting concessions with regard to prescribing fee structure.

It is a welcome move if Government of Karnataka is contemplating to have a single common entrance test. Everyone wants CET back in its pristine form. Like AIEEE / IIT-JEE, a single examination may be conducted for all professional colleges, including deemed universities. This would certainly save the students from the ordeal of taking different examinations with different perceptions.

If a single entrance test is held, 50% of the seats in private colleges (earlier called  COMED-K seats) should be reserved for Karnataka students. Otherwise a major chunk of seats will be grabbed by students of other states.

CET can be conducted on two days as at present. There is also a view that two examinations can be conducted on the first day. Leave a gap of one day (this day may be utilised for other subjects). Remaining examinations can be conducted on the third day. This would relieve the students from the severe stress of preparing for too many subjects. However, the only inconvenience would be an extra day of stay for outsiders. They may not mind this.

With regard to the fee structure, although government rate is reasonable, management (payment!) seat is exorbitant. There seems to be no correlation between the government rate and management rate. In my view, a ratio of 1:3 looks very reasonable.

Mangalore centre

It is quite laudable that counselling process has been taken beyond Bangalore. In addition to Hubli and Gulbarga, Mangalore could be an additional centre. It takes care of regional needs of all parts of Karnataka. The government deserves our kudos if it can resist the bullying tactics. They can take the public support for granted.

(The writer is President of Federation of University & College Teachers Associations in Karnataka.)

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