|National Test Scheme for College Admissions in India|
July 30, 2011 | RSS | Tell a friend | Printable Version
It is needless to state that provision of equal access to higher learning for all regions of the country and all sections of population is both a social and economic necessity.
Right to education is an enunciated public policy of the Government of India. It is a commitment of the nation to her citizens. It is not just a lofty principle nor is it merely a legal provision. To realise this underpinning philosophy, there is a need for an ecosystem that connects the talent of the youth with equitable opportunity for tertiary education.
The document is prepared and placed in the public domain for making clear to the citizens of the country the spirit and objective of designing and establishing a National Testing System for selecting students for admission to tertiary education.
The current system based on multiples of competitive examination has no parallel in other parts of the world. Most nations employ just one test for assessment of scholastic aptitude instead of a plethora of evaluation tests. The current selection systems have, no doubt, resulted in visible benefits.
But, the future of Indian youth might need a paradigm shift that ensures opportunity for larger sections of the society. The extreme level of competitiveness in the screening processes employed for deciding access to professional education is not without its psychological or sociological implications for the society. They do influence the mindset and behavioural changes among the youth.
"Unity in diversity" is the Indian brand value. Unification, while retaining the diversity of educational systems in the country is the underlying strategy of the proposed National Test Scheme. It is motivated by the principle of inclusion for a collaborative excellence rather than exclusion through competitive excellence.
What are the requirements for alternative models? What should a National Test Scheme aim at?
A National Test Scheme should ideally
1. evaluate the ability of the learners rather than their preparedness
2. reveal in a transparent, the latent potentials of the learners to match the emerging opportunities in tertiary education sector and the economy
3. aim to provide for more proportional representation of various regions and parent income levels
4. bridge the rural-urban divides
5. reduce the burden of education administration on faculty to ensure their higher participation in research and academic roles
6. Match the rigour and process integration of be best among the available national test systems globally.
The process for the development of the national test scheme Considering that education is a too important and a highly critical social endeavour for any one to overlook the consequences of inadvertent errors in decision making, it is necessary to engage as many stakeholders as possible in designing the system.
One can also not ignore that in the federal set up of the country the concurrent responsibilities of the States and the Centre are respected and taken on board. There are many state school boards which conduct their own examination for assessing their students for issuing certificates. Shear diversity of these examinations pose challenges of normalization and deciding eligibility to admission in national centres of excellence.
The multiplicity of competitive examinations leading to duplicity of efforts may be a direct result of diversities and complexities involved in the evaluation of inter-comparison of scoring systems of various school boards. As a result, most elite institutions disregard the performance in school examinations. They develop their own competitive test methods and depend too heavily on ranks and scores.
Consistency of performance in different examinations is not considered necessary. Performance in single examination starts to influence the entire career opportunities leading to social implications. National Test Scheme should find innovative ways of retaining the diversity of many school boards and yet derive value from the test scores for making decisions by educational institutions.
Such an innovation seems possible and realistic. This would however call for coordination and cooperation of many players. Hence consultation and enrolment of many players are essential.
A Six-stage consultation is planned. The planned process of consultation includes those with
1. Public through opinion poll
2. States and school boards
3. Faculty and Professional Experts
4. Alumni for participation in path selection
5. Global experts in Evidence-based criteria selection and
6. Statistical experts for a Modeling Study for reconstruction of past