The government is going to introduce a ‘cluster system’ admission test to enroll students into honour’s courses at agricultural universities in the country from 2019-20 academic year.
The maiden admission test will be held in December this year at eight agriculture and agriculture-priority universities across the country.
The decision to introduce cluster system admission test came at a meeting held at the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday, sources said.
UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah presided over the meeting while education ministry’s additional secretary Abdullah Al Hasan Chowdhury and vice-chancellors of eight agricultural universities were present.
The meeting sources said addressing the meeting UGC chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah said the cluster system admission is a national demand. “We should start it first. Our Honorable President has also asked several times to introduce such admission test.”
He also told the eight agri-universities that other universities (public) will follow your path and come under a central admission test system.
“It will strengthen the position of agri-universities in the country.”
The meeting also discussed exam procedure, exam fees, hosting website, quota issue, domain name, admission form, and application schedule.
Under the system, students will sit only for one test and will be selected for the eight universities as per their merit.
The new system will save admission seekers’ time and money and relieve them of travel required to sit for separate admission tests in public universities across the country.
The eight universities that will come under the cluster system include Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University (SAU), Patuakhali Science and Technology University (PSTU), Sylhet Agricultural University (SAU), Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Khulna Agricultural University (KAU), and Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science & Technology University.
However, like the previous years, students may face a strenuous admission battle this year too to admit in other public universities.
In 2010, the education ministry decided in principle to introduce a new admission procedure for the country’s public universities to cut down the exam-holding costs, reduce burden on students and check the influence of coaching centres.
But the launch of the cluster system admission test is delayed due to opposition from some major universities. They think that they would be deprived of the financial benefits accrued from the existing admission system at the universities.
Over 13 lakh students took part in the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent exams this year.
The admission seekers have to buy many admission forms from different universities and spend a lot of money and time on travel and accommodation. Sometimes they face problem when dates of admission tests of different universities coincide.
President Md Abdul Hamid on several occasions asked the VCs of all public universities to introduce a unified admission system to reduce hassles of admission seekers and their guardians.
President, also the Chancellor of all universities, in February last year held a meeting with VCs of all public universities and asked them to do so.
Earlier in November 2017, he also gave the directive to introduce the admission system, but his call seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
The UGC in its annual report also said the current admission system is questionable and expensive. It recommended reforms to the system.
The report suggested that primarily public universities could replicate the medical admission test system and it would lessen the harassment of students and their spending.
Medical colleges have already introduced uniform examination system in which the students sit only for one test and are selected for the colleges as per their merit.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni recently said she was in favour of introducing a uniform admission test to public universities.
“I know that some universities, especially the major ones, oppose the plan for various reasons. But the uniform entrance test is very important for students and guardians,” said the minister.
“If we can hold medical admission tests through unified system, why won’t it be for public universities?”
“I believe that we can do it if we all have a good will. I hope the universities will co-operate with us in this regard,” she added.