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Poll dates out, EAMCET to be rescheduled
From Our Correspondent

The announcement of parliamentary poll schedule has necessitated a change in the exam schedule of the  Engineering and Medical Common Entrance Test (EAMCET-2014) here.

The EAMCET-2014 was due to take place on May 17 but it may have to be rescheduled as the counting of votes is also scheduled for that day as per the election timetable released on March 5.

The final decision in this regard will be taken soon, according to the EAMCET convener Prof N V Ramana Rao.

Rao said that as election results will be announced on May 16, and the exam is slated on May 17, it may disturb the students. Also, there might be problems with the availability of exam centres. The EAMCET Committee will soon decide either to advance the exam or postpone it.

“The EAMCET Committee, along with state government officials, will decide on a new date for the examination depending on the availability of invigilators, police officials, venues etc. The meeting will look into the pros and cons of postponing or advancing the exam,” said Ramana Rao.

According to officials, the engineering exam will be conducted from 10 am to 1 pm, while the agriculture and medicine tests will be held from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm on the same day. To qualify in the examination, a candidate must secure 25 per cent of the maximum marks in EAMCET.

One agency for all higher edu exams
By Our Correspondent
: The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has set up a task force to prepare a blueprint for a national agency to conduct various entrance examinations and recruitment tests in the country.

The eight-member task force will be headed by former IIT-Kanpur director Sanjay Dhandhe.

The Chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education, and one representative each from the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Institute of Technical Education (AICTE) will be among the members of the panel, among others.

The proposal to set up a National Testing Agency (NTA) is yet another ambitious move by the Centre to push its “one nation, one test” agenda to relieve students from the burden of facing multiple entrance tests, even as MHRD assures that the new system will not be imposed on any institution.

According to the MHRD proposal, NTA's basic mandate will be to conduct efficient, transparent tests of international standards in order to assess the competency of candidates for admission to colleges and professional institutes of higher learning, including engineering, medicine and management.

The proposal also seeks to hold nationwide tests for the purpose of recruitment in various government departments and granting scholarships in future.

“The task force set up to prepare the blueprint will suggest ways and means of setting up such an internationally-benchmarked testing and assessment agency. It will also suggest parameters to standardise all the major tests, including the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), conducted in the country,” a HRD Ministry official said on July 12.

The idea of setting up a National Testing Agency has been under the consideration of the ministry for several years. When Kapil Sibal was the HRD minister, he had wanted to set up the NTA by an Act of Parliament to make it a statutory body.

The ministry, however, later dropped the idea of setting up such a body in view of its experiences with its various key legislations, which have been pending for passage in Parliament for a long time.

The ministry now plans to set up the proposed agency by an executive order. The proposal to set up NTA got approval of the Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE) in its last meeting.


CET notified, deadline for fee payment extended

BANGALORE  :  The last date for payment of fees to get a Common Entrance Test (CET) 2014 brochure-cum-application forms has been extended from March 17 to March 20.

Students who are studying II PU in Karnataka or outside the State and those who have not paid the fees can send the DD drawn in favour of “Executive Director, Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA)” along with self-addressed envelope to the office of the KEA.

The brochure will be sent by speed post to the address furnished by students. There is no provision to make the payments in banks by downloading the challans, according to a press release.

The Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) had on March 8 issued the notification for the Common Entrance Test (CET) for admissions to government and government-quota seats in professional courses.

The test will be held on May 1, 2 and 3.

A KEA press release said that while there are no major changes in any of the procedures, no change of category will be allowed once the application form is submitted. This follows  suspension of the former Administrative Officer (AO) of the KEA S.P. Kulkarni for allegedly changing the category of certain students midway through the counselling.

“The information/particulars furnished by the candidates in their CET-2014 application form is final. The information furnished in the application form with regard to caste/category and annual income remains the same for the purpose of assignment of ranks/allotment of a seat, and no change will be entertained in future for any reason,” says a newly included clause in the notification.

With a breakdown in talks over seat sharing and fee structure between the State government and private college managements, there appears to be a slight delay in the processes for the CET this year. 

In 2012, the notification was published on February 27, and in 2013, it was published on March 3.

Students are expected to download the challan from the KEA website and pay the fee in the bank.

The application-cum-brochures are expected to be distributed through colleges and schools on or after March 22, and the last date to submit the applications is April 5. The counselling will be online.

KEA officials said the brochure-cum-application forms for 2014-15 will carry the same information as last year. “We will make it clear to the students that the number of seats mentioned is that of last year,” an official said.

Online entrance test for IITs, others by 2014?

By Charu Sudan Kasturi
Students seeking admission to IITs and all other central engineering schools may soon have to switch from pens and pencils to a computer mouse under a move to completely computerise key Centrally conducted entrance tests.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) are scouting for a firm to audit their preparedness for the switch, top government officials confirmed to HT.

The move is backed by HRD minister MM Pallam Raju.

If the audit concludes that the board and government are ready, the 100% computerised avatar could be rolled out as early as 2014.

But a computerised test for the about 15,00,000 students who seek admission to the IITs, National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other central engineering schools each year is unlikely to be easy.

The JEE (Main) — earlier called the All India Engineering Entrance Examination — which picks students to the NITs and other central schools and shortlists 150,000 top students for a second round test to select students for the IITs — is currently conducted mostly in the pencil-paper format. But in 2012, the CBSE started offering a computerised version for a few students at select centres, spread over a few days.

“Now we want to check whether we are ready to take the big leap towards dumping the pencil-paper format completely,” a senior CBSE official said.

The audit will check 300 identified centres across 28 Indian cities and Singapore, Kathmandu and Colombo, where computerised tests are planned. At these centres, auditors will check the infrastructure — CCTV surveillance, power backup, 20% additional desktops, standby servers, air-conditioning and access control measures.

Auditors will evaluate software security and whether rigorous security arrangements to prevent question paper leaks are in place. The plan is to upload question papers on a central server and then issue passwords for access to the server to officials in charge of centres through a text message in the morning of the examination.
(Courtesy : The Hindustan Times)

GATE to go the JEE way, have 2-tier exam

NEW DELHI : The National Co-ordination Board (NCB) of the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) has proposed a two-tier test for admission to the M.Tech programme run by the Indian Institutes of Technology and the IISc, Bangalore. The test will, like the new JEE, have a screening test followed by the main admission test.

According to a newspaper report the new pattern is being adopted to cope up with the massive increase in the number of aspirants in the past five years — from 1.8 lakh in 2008 to more than 10 lakh this year.

The National Co-ordination Board (NCB), which conducts the test each year, comprises the directors of the seven older IITs and the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

The screening exam, planned to be entrusted to a private agency, will be more like an aptitude test. The final test, to be conducted by the IITs and IISc, will assess the domain (subject) knowledge of the students, said The Telegraph report quoting an IIT director.

“The NCB has written to all IITs to get the views of the faculty on the two-tier GATE proposal and outsource the screening test to a private firm,” the director added.

Each of the seven IITs last week issued circulars to the heads of departments asking them to give their views after speaking to the faculty members.

The move assumes significance against the backdrop of recent changes brought to the IIT-JEE examination. For admission to BTech courses in the IITs from next year, aspirants will have to appear in the JEE-Main, to be conducted by the CBSE. If they clear this, they will have to take the JEE-Advanced, to be held by the IITs.

But a faculty member from IIT Kharagpur said he and his colleagues would oppose the plan to enlist a private firm for GATE, said the newspaper report.

“Private companies have no stake in promoting merit in admission in the IITs except monetary gains. We will oppose this proposal to take away a part of the exam from the IITs.”

Not everyone seemed to back the view, though. Former IIT Kanpur director S.G. Dhande justified the move, saying changes were required to ensure better quality in the test.

“Is the existing GATE really assessing the eligibility of a student for research? The present objective-type test is focussed on subject knowledge. We need to test the orientation and aptitude of students for research,” Dhande said.

The screening test may have questions on reasoning, basic science and language to gauge the general competence of students, while the final exam could test domain knowledge.

Dhande suggested the screening test be held online and several times a year.

But IIT Faculty Federation president K. Narasimhan indicated the last word was not out on the proposed change and that it would be discussed at several forums before being given final shape.

“The federation has not taken any view on the proposal yet. Let us see what the faculty members from each institute are saying,” the IIT Bombay teacher said.

Dheeraj Sanghi, of IIT Kanpur, appeared to favour the new system saying GATE was gradually becoming a burden on the IITs because of the increase in the number of aspirants.

“I think it is a good move. A private firm (Prometric) has been conducting the Common Admission Test (CAT) for IIMs the past few years. The GATE examination similarly can be handled by a private firm,” he said.


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