CUET-UG to be held from July 15, says NTA
June 23, 2022

In News:

  • The National Testing Agency (NTA) will conduct the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) as an entry gateway for admission to top colleges across the country.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • Common University Entrance Test – About, background, committee formed, rationale behind CUET, criticism
  • The University Grant Commission (UGC) – About, timeline, mandate
  • News Summary

In Focus: Common University Entrance Test

  • The University Grant Commission (UGC), in December 2021, announced its decision to roll out a common entrance test for admissions to UG and PG courses in Central universities across India.
    • The UGC had asked vice-chancellors of Central universities to take appropriate measures to conduct the Common University Entrance Test (CUET).
  • The test is to be organised by the National Testing Agency (NTA).
  • The test will cover students looking for admissions in the sciences, humanities, languages, arts, as well as vocational subjects in higher education institutions.

Background: Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET)

  • The CUCET was launched in 2010, a year after 12 new central universities had been set up under the Central Universities Act, 2009.
    • In the year of its rollout, seven new central universities adopted CUCET.
  • In 2012, the government tried to extend this to all Central universities under the Education Ministry.
    • However, the proposal didn’t take off with some universities expressing concerns over the impact it would have on the quality of students admitted.
  • Over the years, more newly set-up Central universities adopted the common entrance, but the older ones stayed away.
    • In 2021, only 12 Central universities subscribed to the CUCET.
  • Finally in December 2021, UGC decided to roll the common entrance examination as an entry gateway for admission to top colleges across the country.
    • The CUCET is called Common Universities Entrance Test (CUET) in its proposed new avatar.

Committee to prepare a plan for the implementation of CUET

  • In December 2020, the UGC had set up a committee headed by Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Punjab, R P Tiwari.
    • It was set up to chalk out a plan to implement CUET from 2021-22.
  • The committee had recommended that a minimum of 50 per cent of a candidate’s CUET score should be factored in during admissions in undergraduate courses.
    • It recommended the continuation of the existing policies regarding quotas, reservations, subject combinations, preferences etc.

Rationale behind the common entrance test

  • The NEP, 2020 envisages that a common entrance will test the conceptual understanding and ability to apply knowledge.
    • It will aim to eliminate the need for taking coaching for these exams.
  • The flexibility of the NTA testing services will enable most universities to use these common entrance exams.
    • Rather than having hundreds of universities each devising their own entrance exams, this test will reduce the burden on the entire education system.
  • The unrealistic cut-offs for admission to premier institutions like Delhi University have underlined the need for alternatives.
    • It is expected that the common entrance test will create a level playing field.


  • Many critics fear that the proposed system will not be more just and fair.
    • They contend that any kind of arrangement which seeks to impose uniformity becomes discriminatory.
    • They also claim that such a move will encourage the coaching industry further.
      • This in turn will put additional burden on parents and students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds
    • The proposed step will reinforce the existing system where the focus is not on learning but assessment.
    • Also, many analysts believe there is no point going for a 50-50 formula because the controversy around Board marks will still continue even if its weightage is reduced.

The University Grant Commission (UGC)

  • The UGC was formally established in November 1956 as a statutory body by the UGC Act 1956.
    • It was set up by the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education.
  • It was established for the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education in India.
    • It is essentially an autonomous government agency that channels public funds (grants) to higher education institutions.
      • This is done in exchange for their compliance with set quality criteria.
    • It is headquartered in New Delhi and it has six regional centres in Pune, Bhopal, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Guwahati and Bangalore.


  • The UGC has the unique distinction of being the only grant-giving agency in the country which has been vested with two responsibilities:
    • that of providing funds and
    • that of coordination, determination and maintenance of standards in institutions of higher education.
  • The UGC`s mandate includes:
    • Promoting and coordinating university education.
    • Determining and maintaining standards of teaching, examination and research in universities.
    • Framing regulations on minimum standards of education.
    • Monitoring developments in the field of collegiate and university education.
    • Disbursing grants to the universities and colleges.

News Summary

  • The first edition of the Common University Entrance Test-Undergraduate (CUET-UG) will be conducted from July 15 to August 10.
  • The National Testing Agency (NTA) will be conducting the exam.
  • CUET scores, and not Class 12 marks, would be mandatory for admission to 45 central universities.
    • However, the central universities can fix their minimum eligibility criteria.