Admission to all engineering colleges in the country will be done through a single entrance examination from next year, the government said on Friday, doing away with multiple tests conducted by central agencies, state governments and private institutions.
A single test for engineering, as well as architecture courses, will be on lines of the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET), a single, all-India test for entry to medical and dental colleges launched in 2016.
However, students seeking admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will have to clear the JEE-Advanced after taking the engineering entrance exam.
The human resource development ministry cleared a proposal by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the country’s top body which frames rules and regulations for engineering and technical institutes.
“AICTE is advised to ensure that the testing process is standardised keeping in view the linguistic diversity of the country. The test shall also be conducted multiple times every year,” the HRD ministry said.
The ministry has asked the council to issue suitable regulations under the AICTE Act.
“The aim is to make the process more transparent, standardised, and free of corruption and commercialisation,” a government official said, referring to allegations that some private institutions charge exorbitant capitation fee from students.
This entrance examination is said to be the brainchild of HRD minister Prakash Javadekar.
India has more than 3,300 approved engineering colleges affiliated to universities, with an annual intake of an estimated 1.6 million students. But only about half of the seats are filled.
The current admission process at the graduation level is dependent on performance in entrance examinations conducted by various agencies.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducts the JEE-Main for Centre-funded institutions. More than 1.3 million students write this examination every year.
A number of states conduct their own tests while some grant admission based on marks obtained in class 12.
Several private colleges also have their individual entrance examinations.
“But some of them, which are self-financed, charge high fees or sell seats in the name of management or NRI quota at a premium”, a source said.
Some of the private colleges admit students without basic talent and aptitude for engineering, affecting overall quality, the source said.
Of the 737,000 graduates in 2014-15, only half found employment. Most of the students didn’t meet expectations of companies offering jobs.
The HRD ministry asked state governments and deemed universities to provide suggestions for smooth implementation of the regulation.
“It may also be useful to request as many institutions as possible to come under joint seat allocation system for a more efficient seat allocation process. Actions taken in this regard may be intimated to the government,” the ministry said.