Soon, take engineering entrance tests several times a year

(I am just reproducing this from The Hindustan Times, Friday, Feb 17 2017, print edition, Mumbai, front page news. The purpose is to update readers of my blog and students/parents. Thanks to Hindustan Times!!)

Soon, take engg. entrance tests several times a year:

(Neelam Pandey and Gauri Kohli) (E-mail: letters@hindustantimes.com)

New Delhi:

Students aspiring to study at the country’s top engineering colleges are likely to get multiple opportunities in a single year to crack the tough entrance exam.

The move will significantly shift an aspirant’s waiting time for the next test in case of failure to clear the first attempt at the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE Main) — conducted for admission to NIT’s, IIT’s and other centrally funded institutions.

For instance, if back-to-back exams are conducted in December, February and April, a candidate will be allowed to write all of them, or she can opt for one or two. The best marks from any of the three tests will account for  the student’s all-India ranking, which decides her eligibility for  admission.

The National Testing Service (NTS), a new overarching agency that the government announced in its annual budget this February to conduct all entrance exams for higher education institutions might hold the JEE Main fully online from the next academic session.

The format will allow the NTS to hold the engineering test at least thrice a year, sources said. That way, a student would not have to spend a full-year of studying for the test again.

At present, a student has the option of writing the JEE Main online or offline, but the exam is conducted just once a year. But, only 155,000 of the almost 1 million students opt to take the test online.

“To ensure greatest transparency and avoid instances of paper leak, the ministry is planning to conduct examinations through NTS on an online mode,” said a senior official in the human resources development ministry.

Sources said the NTS is likely to conduct all entrance examinations — including JEE, CAT, and UGC-NET online from 2018.

Education experts welcomed the move underscoring that several global screening tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and TOEFL are conducted up to seven times a year.

“This will ensure that a candidate is able to give his/her best if there are specific testing windows,” said Soumitra Roy of Prometric India, a global agency that has conducted tests such as CAT for premier business schools.

“This must be done provided there is adequate physical and technical infrastructure in a country like India with different demographics.”

To ensure students from rural India don’t face obstacles in taking the online exam, NTS will help prepare them through round-the-clock call centre support.

NTS will establish an online testing mechanism which will be able to conduct online tests for at least 1 million students at a time for suitable systems for proctoring, instant display of marks and preparation of the merit list,” an official said.

The online system will ensure better safety mechamsms, according to Bipin Batra, executive director of the National Board of Examinations (NBE), which conducts entrance tests such as NEET PG, and NEET Superspecialty for medical students.

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I will share such news with u all, as and when they appear in print.

Nalin Pithwa.

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