CUET: A financial burden


The introduction of the Central University Entrance Test (CUET) has led to the opening of various commercial coaching centers, making education more costly.

Pankaj’s daughter is currently giving her twelfth board exams and he has already enrolled her in a CUET coaching centre. “I did not want to pay Rs. 20,000 for a two-month crash course. So, I have already enrolled her for one year. I had to negotiate a lot because this expense was not planned,” he said.

“The coaching is online. I know this is costly but at the same time, I also think it is important because there are limited seats. The school curriculum does not prepare children for the exam. Because my daughter took humanities, she is not good at math,” he further said.

The students are still struggling to bridge the gap in their studies due to the pandemic.  CUET exam preparation is another challenge for them while preparing for  board exams. Saikat Ghosh, a teacher at Delhi University and a former member of Delhi University Academic Council said that. “In these two years, the children have already faced a lot of uncertainty and the test is adding up to the problems. The exam is not set up by the teachers but National Testing Agency (NTA), which is commercially funded. The exam has also reduced the importance of board exams,” he said.

The children are more concerned about the CUET exam rather than scoring well in board exams. They try to score the minimum marks which is required to sit for the CUET exam.Manasvi, a 12th standard student said, “Now I only have to score 50 percent in my board exams to meet the eligibility criteria, which I already scored in my first term examination.”

Vijay, another parent said that he gets two calls a day from various academic counsellors who charge a lot of money for counsellingand a part of their counselling includes teaching the process of filling out the application form.

When CUET was introduced by the education department, various reports indicated that it will provide equal opportunity to all the students to get admissiontogood colleges.

However, Ghosh believes that it will further increase the disparity by imposing parents to put their children into coaching centres ‘and those who will not be able to afford will not be confident. He said, “The test will also set one parameter for all the students which was not the case in cut-offs as it was based on the subjects they chose in their secondary schools. I am not saying a 100 percent cut off is reasonable but to accommodate the increasing population the government should spend more on the infrastructure. The allocation is increasing in absolute terms but not in percentage.”

“Education and health are the two most important sectors and the process of elimination is not fair. Students should not run after one college but should have the options to select among quality institutes, which are affordable,” he added.