Clusters of exams for university admission as UGC scraps uniform test plan

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-02-26 18:50:36 BdST

Snubbed by the Dhaka University, BUET and three other top universities, the University Grants Commission or UGC has rowed back on its decision to hold uniform tests for admission.

The exams will be held in four clusters from next academic session, UGC Chairman Kazi Shahidullah announced after a meeting with the vice-chancellors of 34 public universities on Wednesday.

The clusters will be – agriculture, science and technology, engineering and general. Under the general cluster, there will be three streams - science, humanities and business studies.

The candidates will sit the tests after making online application, the UGC chairman said. The test centres will be near their areas.

Under the current system, the candidates need to travel to all the universities up and down the country for admission after passing HSC exams. They also have to take preparations differently for the admission tests of different universities.

Many have spoken about abolishing the system arguing that the combined tests will reduce the students’ sufferings and a waste of money and a uniform system of tests will especially benefit the female candidates.

Earlier in February, the UGC had announced the decision to hold the uniform tests from the 2020-21 session after a meeting with the VCs. It also drafted a proposal on the combined tests and sought the universities opinions on the draft.

Besides the Dhaka University and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology or BUET, Jahangirnagar University, Chittagong University and Rajshahi University refused the proposal, saying they would follow current rules for admission.

They doubted the success of the uniform entry tests system citing possibilities of question paper leaks and misjudgement of candidates for admission to particular departments.

At a press conference after Wednesday’s meeting, UGC Chairman Shahidullah said any of the five universities can join the new system if they want.

“We opted for the cluster system because it will be difficult to hold the tests without these five campuses,” he said, citing possible problems over seating arrangements.

A committee headed by UGC Member Dil Afroza Begum will set the specifics of the method of the new system, including venues, question papers, evaluation, through discussions with different groups, Shahidullah said.

Each cluster of tests will get one university as leader, he said.

Afroza said the universities will admit the students as per their requirements after the results are out.

The five other universities and the medical colleges will be asked to hold their tests earlier, she said.

“We want to start from September,” Afroza said and added they want the National University to hold the tests later.

There will be seven universities in the agriculture cluster, 11 in science and technology, three in engineering and nine in general cluster, officials said at the news conference.


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