Many good proposals were stated by the Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley in Budget 2017. Among the plans stated by the minister, one of the important proposals was to set up a National Testing Agency for All Entrance Examinations conducted at the national level. It is true that the leaders in the education industry welcomed this suggestion, but the normal public was a little bit confused whether this is a positive thing. Let us get into the details of the proposal made by the finance minister and also it is time to know whether this is a beneficial move from the point of view of students.
Before understanding the long-term effects related to setting up a National Testing Agency, it becomes important to know about the present practice. At present, a number of states and national-level boards are conducting entrance tests for admitting students to various courses. Without any doubt, the Central Board of Secondary Education is the largest of the different boards. Also, this board presently takes care of the task of organising and conducting different examinations like JEE Main, CTET, NEET and University Grants Commission NET Tests. As most of us know these tests are conducted for admission to engineering, teacher training, and medical courses. In addition to this board, the National Board of Education in combination with different state boards is conducting entrance examinations. The main purpose of the announcement of this proposal by the central government is to release these boards from the responsibility of organising national level entrance tests. When these boards are freed from this responsibility, they can just concentrate on their core functionalities. On the flip side, the responsibility of conducting these entrance tests will be handed over to a single agency called as National Testing Agency as per the new proposal.
How will it be Beneficial to Students?
Frankly speaking, there is no direct benefit to the students from this proposal. The obvious thing is that whoever conducts the examination, there is not going to be any difference for the test takers, isn’t? But, who conducts the test does matter for students. Besides being an added task for these boards on conducting the examination, it needs unifying and presenting a sole testing platform, which is a difficult task for sure. The example given below will provide a better understanding:
Considering JEE Main 2017:
For instance, let us consider JEE Main examination. Indian Institutes of Technology are identified as the best institutions for engineering all over the country. Every student with the dream of becoming an engineer in the future aspires to do the engineering course from one of the IITs in the nation. To get admission to an IIT, the first thing they will have to do is, of course, to qualify in the JEE main examination. Then, they will have to write the JEE Advanced examination. This is an examination that is conducted uniformly for all students from across the country. But, students from some states find it difficult to crack the test as compared to others. The reason is that they did their education so far from different boards and they followed a different curriculum and different syllabus. Even though there are some similarities with respect to the contents of different boards there are fine differences as well. Of course, these differences do matter a lot when it comes to getting through the JEE examination. When a candidate from a state board writes the test conducted by CBSE, it will be tough for him to manage. On the other hand, when the test is conducted by a central testing agency, it will smoothen the difference. In other words, it can be stated as a single and uniform manifesto for all students to contend equally.
The administrative benefit:
Administrative benefit is yet another benefit when the responsibility of conducting national level tests is handed over to the National Testing Agency. When it comes to conducting a national level test, a lot of resources will be taken. For instance, considering NEET 2017, it is expected that more than 10 lakh students from across the country will be taking up this test for admission to the medical seats across India. This means that the convening authority, CBSE again will have to devote additional resources to the same and the board will also have to bear a whole lot of administrative expenses as well. When the authority of organizing the examinations is handed over to the NTA, these funds can be utilized to provide a better learning experience to the CBSE schools children, to pay attention to revising curriculum and also for developing the education quality.
Therefore, even though it appears that the establishment of National Testing Agency is not going to bring any direct benefits to students, but it can surely bring great benefits to the students sooner or later.