'One of the advantages is that students need not take many entrance examinations.'
For the first time, the central government has decided to conduct a Common Entrance Examination for university admission at the graduate level.
The Common Universities Entrance Examination (CUET), that will be conducted by the University Grants Commission on July 15, is a bone of contention between the non-Bharatiya Janata Party ruled states and the Centre.
Educationists across many states have expressed their concern about such an entrance examination.
Professor E Balagurusamy -- former vice chancellor, Anna University, now chairman, EBG Foundation, Coimbatore -- supports the Centre's decision to have a common entrance examination at the university level.
"Since there are so many boards of examination in the country, it is not possible for the central universities to give admission to students based on Plus 2 marks. So, it is necessary to have a common entrance examination to grade the students," Professor Balagurusamy tells Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier.
The first of a two-part interview:
The Tamil Nadu chief minister asked the Centre to drop the idea of conducting a common entrance examination for universities.
After NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, pre-medical entrance exam), CUET has become another sticking point for the state.
Do you think he is justified in expressing his displeasure and dissatisfaction?
Tamil Nadu has this habit of opposing whatever the central government proposes, particularly what the Modi government puts forward.
First it was NEET, now CUET; in fact, they are opposing the National Education Policy also. This is very unfortunate.
Regarding CUET, the Tamil Nadu government has no right to pass a resolution against it as education is in the concurrent list.
CUET is a process concerning the admission process in the central universities, and the state government has nothing to do with it.
According to me, CUET is a very good initiative by the central government, and one of the advantages of it is that students need not take many entrance examinations.
Remember there are 50 central universities in the country, and till now, students were taking many entrance examinations when they apply to these central universities.
Since there are so many boards of examination in the country, it is not possible for the central universities to give admission to students based on Plus 2 marks.
So, it is necessary to have a common entrance examination to grade the students.
When you have different states following different syllabus in different languages, and many students studying Plus 2 in their mother tongue, is it not disadvantageous for them?
Not at all. See, they can write CUET in 13 different languages.
If you are saying the state governments are following different syllabus, what they are doing is not right.
From 1986, there is a common NCERT curriculum, and all the states are supposed to follow the NCERT syllabus.
In fact, almost all the state government are following the NCERT syllabus except Tamil Nadu.
Only recently, they have improved upon the state syllabus to the level of CBSE.
The fact is, students are ready to take any entrance examination, and they are capable too.
This is an opportunity for the students to move all across the country, and study in the best universities.
Those who oppose entrance examinations using the name of rural students, are the politicians.
Political parties want to play politics in the name of students.
It is found that NEET has been very disadvantageous for the students coming from the rural areas...
Absolutely not. I know students from the rural parts of Tamil Nadu.
As a person who has studied in a village in Tamil Nadu in Tamil medium, I can confidently say that rural students are on par with or better than students from the urban areas.
Given an opportunity, good students will excel; from where they come is immaterial. Of course, the curriculum and teaching have to be good.
I will go on to say that rural students are more motivated to excel than urban students.
What the state government has to do is, improve the government schools instead of blaming entrance examinations.
It was in 1976 that education moved to the Concurrent list. Now, many state governments are now talking about moving education from Concurrent list back to the state list....
In 1976, education was brought to the Concurrent list by the Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency period.
More than 45 years have passed. What have they been doing till now?
Because education is in the Concurrent list, a lot of state universities are getting aid and support in higher education from the central government.
In fact, the Centre is spending a lot on school education also.
If you move education to the state list, all these advantages will disappear.
India being a country with different culture and different languages, we have to unify our education system so that we can reach international standards.
You cannot have 30 different policies in education; we have to have a uniform education policy.
Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com