Feb 23, 2012, 02.21AM IST
NEW DELHI: The government's plan to introduce a common national examination for undergraduate engineering courses across the country will have to be curtailed with the test applicable only for central technical institutions from next year as at least five states have objected to the proposal.
The states, including Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, opposed the move and two others advocated more debate when the common test was discussed at the state education ministers' meeting on Wednesday.
In light of the meeting's deliberations, admissions to IIT, other Central government institutions and state engineering institutions that admit students based on AIEEE scores will be carried out in accordance with a merit list drawn up by the common national examination results with weightage for state boards.
Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Puducherry opposed the proposal, while Uttar Pradesh suggested that private institutions be brought on board as well. Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh asked for wider consultation. The states have been keen to retain their state-level common entrance tests.
In the midst of the opposition from non-Congress states, the human resource development ministry received support from unexpected quarters with Gujarat expressing its approval for the plan.
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said the common test will be for the means for admission to central engineering institutes like IITs, and expressed the hope that states will also adopt the formula in coming years. There are, however, considerable reservations of including board exam weightages to tests to India's top technical schools like IITs that have previously conducted their own entrance exams.
Sibal said 11 boards at the Council of Boards of School Education in India ( COBSE) meeting last week have "unanimously" supported the move. Four states - Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh - have already accepted CBSE-conducted AIEEE scores for admission to their institutes.
"The unanimous decision of the state education ministers today in passing the resolution was that we agreed in principle that there should be one test in 2013 for all students who want to seek admission to central engineering institutions," Sibal said.
The proposed entrance test which the HRD ministry has proposed to be named as Indian Science - Engineering Eligibility Test (ISEET), is likely to be conducted in April or May next year and will have two parts - ISEET main and ISEET advance. The former will test the inherent intelligence of the student.
Education ministers of states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh among others also suggested including regional language along with English and Hindi.
"The exam will be conducted initially twice a year starting in April-May, 2013 and the ultimate aim is to conduct it thrice or four times. The score will be valid for two years."
A formula has been devised by the Indian Statistical Institute to equate the scores of different boards. The idea is to re-emphasize school education, do away with the stress of multiple examination and grey markets," added Sibal.
The entrance examination question papers will be prepared by the IITs and the exam will be conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education. In the first year (2013) around 12 lakh candidates are expected to take the exam. States which will base its admissions on the common entrance test are Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh and Uttarakhand.