Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to withdraw Common University Entrance Test (CUET). In the letter dated on 6th April 2022, MK Stalin called the centralized exam for admission to colleges and universities to be disadvantageous for students in marginalized communities including those in rural areas, economically backward students, and those studying on the state boards.
#CUET based on NCERT syllabus will— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) April 6, 2022
i) sideline our diverse school education systems;
ii) favour mushrooming of coaching centres;
iii) place students from our state in a disadvantageous position.
Hence, I urge Hon’ble @PMOIndia to withdraw this regressive & undesirable step. pic.twitter.com/YNkfAG4d7g
MK Stalin said that CUET is regressive
MK Stalin called the Common University Entrance Test to be a regressive step that will benefit coaching centers and not the students. He said, “This regressive step has clearly vindicated the consistent stand of our Government, which is based on the consensus across sections in Tamil Nadu that the introduction of NEET for MBBS admissions was not an isolated instance but a definitive prelude to the larger attempt of the Union Government to centralize higher education admissions. There is no doubt that this CUET, similar to NEET will side-line the diverse school education systems across the country, grossly undermine the relevance of overall development-oriented long-form learning in schools and make students rely upon coaching centers for improving their entrance examination scores.”
MK Stalin used state boards as a shield in his argument
MK Stalin used the difference between the state board of education and NCERT as a shield in his argument against CUET. He said, “I wish to reiterate that any entrance examination that is based on NCERT syllabus will not provide an equal opportunity to all students who have studied in varied State Board syllabi across the country. In most States, State Board syllabus students constitute more than 80% of the total student population and these students invariably hail from the marginalized sections. Hence an NCERT syllabus-based entrance examination would place this deserving majority in a disadvantageous position in securing admission to Central Universities. In Tamil Nadu’s context, this is likely to drastically reduce the number of students from our State in various Central Universities and their affiliated colleges.”
MK Stalin then cited the poor-rich divide
Further in his argument against CUET, MK Stalin said that he is worried for the students coming from the marginalized sections of society. He said, “The people of Tamil Nadu are apprehensive that like NEET, CUET also will be against the interests of the rural poor and socially marginalized students from the State and will only favor further mushrooming of coaching centers in the domain of admission in humanities also. Further, we feel that the indirect pressure brought on by the UGC on Non-Central Universities to adopt CUET is likely to make this centralization process even stronger. This trend would, over a course of time, undermine the State syllabus-based school education system by pushing students to opt for costly schools adopting NCERT syllabus.”
Concluding the CUET to be a wrong step by the central government, MK Stalin demanded to withdraw the test. He wrote, “Considering the above issues, we view this step of making CUET mandatory for all Central Universities as yet another undesirable step in the current trend of the Union Government trying to sideline both the roles of State Governments as well as the significance of school education system in the process of admission to higher educational institutions. Therefore, I strongly urge you to withdraw this step immediately.”
What is CUET?
On Monday, 21st March 2022, the University Grants Commission directed that admissions to undergraduate and postgraduate courses offered in Central Universities should be strictly done on the basis of the Common University Entrance Test (CUET). The new decision does away with the criteria for considering Class 12 marks for UG admissions from the session 2022-23.
The Common University Entrance Test or the CUET will be conducted in the first week of July by the National Test Agency (NTA). UGC Chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar while announcing the exam said that the computer-based exam will be conducted in 13 regional languages including English, Hindi, Gujarati, Assamese, Bengali, Kannada, and Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. The test will be mandatory for seeking admission into 45 central universities in the country.
It may be noted that Tamil Nadu govt is also opposing the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions to medical and dental colleges, and DMK had promised to get an exemption from it for Tamil Nadu before the assembly polls. In September lasts year, the Tamil Nadu assembly had passed a bill against NEET, however it was returned by the governor. After that, the assembly re-adopted it in February this year, and it will be sent to the President for assent.