Pune Campus Watch: Burden or boon? Parents, academicians debate need for entrance tests for UG admissions

With the date for declaration of Class XII results, across boards, drawing near, colleges across Pune are gearing up to conduct entrance examinations for undergraduate courses. Parents, however, are questioning the need for these exams, saying they lead to more stress for students and give less credit to Class XII board exams.

From this year, the University Grants Commission (UGC) will conduct a Common University Entrance Test (CUET) for admissions to central universities. In addition to this, several private universities and autonomous colleges in Pune will conduct their own entrance tests.

For example, private universities like MIT University, Vishwakarma University and Symbiosis University have been conducting their own entrance tests for admissions to undergraduate courses for years now. Several autonomous colleges affiliated to Savitribai Phule Pune University have also started conducting entrance exams, especially to professional and self-financed courses.

While colleges say that these entrance tests offer a level playing field to students, parents say they are just piling on pressure on students.

Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC) holds entrance exams for several undergraduate courses like Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS) etc. College principal Seema Purohit says a 60:40 formula is applied while granting admissions where 60 per cent weightage is given to entrance tests while 40 percent weightage is given to marks of Class X and XII.

“Students from every corner of the state and country apply for admissions and many students come from the local state board, while others are from CBSE or ICSE. Some students come from interior parts of Maharashtra. The entrance test is designed to bring them to one level,” she said.

“We have observed that many students who secure 90 plus in Class XII, score less in our entrance tests. Also in the last two years, no examinations were conducted by boards and students were passed based on internal assessments so we can’t really assess the sanctity of these tests. Our entrance exams test students on mathematics as well as aptitude. This will be the third year of conducting the tests,” she added.

However, parents feel multiple entrance tests are burdensome to students, both mentally and financially.

“The entire last year was one of uncertainty. Students were not even sure if final board exams would be held. They studied in online mode and then they wrote offline exams. They faced immense mental stress and finally, when board exams were over, we thought they would get a break. But now, my daughter who wants to do her BBA is preparing for multiple entrance tests. It is not fair, why conduct board exams if it is not to be taken seriously?” said Prachi Mokashi, a parent.

Another parent, Ruksana Hakim, highlighted the financial burden. “No single form costs less than Rs 1,000, sometimes it is as high as Rs 5,000, depending on which kind of college or university students are applying. Besides that, there is the cost of tuitions or entrance exam test papers. One centralised entrance examination makes more sense than multiple ones,” she said.

However, some colleges which had started entrance tests have decided not to conduct them.

Rajendra Zunjarrao, principal of Modern College of Arts, Science Commerce, said that their college will no longer conduct entrance tests for BBA seats and instead admissions will be given based on Class XII scores.

“Conducting entrance tests takes some time and preparation and allocation of manpower. Earlier, courses like BBA were offered only in a few colleges and the demand was very high, so we had to conduct entrance tests. But now, many colleges offer the same and seats go vacant in so many colleges, so there is no need for the entrance tests. Admissions are based on merit list,” he said.

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