Mumbai: Following concerns raised by students, the Maharashtra state school education department on Friday has written to private and international boards, seeking suggestions on ways to make the optional Common Entrance Test (CET) to be conducted for admission to Class XI more inclusive. Experts and educationists said CET is an essential test required to ensure unbiased admission to Class XI, especially since the Class X board exams were cancelled.
On Friday, the state school education department wrote to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge board. Francis Joseph, co-founder of School Leaders Network (SLN), said, “The idea is to make CET more inclusive for students of all boards.”
He added, “In my opinion, the state school education department is doing their best to address the concerns raised by students of other boards. These issues will get resolved provided all boards support and work together for the optional CET.”
Junior colleges said CET is the best option to award admissions for Class XI, considering Class X exams were cancelled this year. Marie Fernandes, principal of St Andrew’s College, Bandra, said, “We need to have some deciding factor to judge the performance of students in order to provide admission to Class XI. As Class X exams were cancelled, we cannot just rely on marks given based on assessment policies. CET is a best option for fair admission given the current circumstances.”
Fernandes added, “Students must not be anxious about CET because the syllabus will be based on concepts that they are already aware of. The Maharashtra state board has laid out the syllabus, type of questions, bifurcation of marks, mode of answering and time-frame very clearly. Students must give their best.”
A senior official of the state school education department said, “In our initial discussions with heads of junior colleges, it was decided that CET should be conducted by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE). The Bombay High Court (HC) had also directed the state to conduct an entrance exam for Class XI admissions. Now, the question is how do we make this exam more inclusive and uniform for students of all boards in terms of syllabus within the limited time period.”
Principal of a south Mumbai college said, “Though assessment policies are formulated by different boards, there are chances for discrepancies; wherein schools or individual boards can award higher marks to students. There has to be some exam or assessment to avoid such discrepancies and have a fair medium for Class XI admissions.”