‘Cluster system’ test brooks no delay

19 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

It has been nearly ten years since the Education Ministry has been grappling to introduce a cluster system admission test for the country’s public universities in order to alleviate the sufferings of admission seekers. Sadly, it still seems like a distant dream.

HSC examinations are underway and the battle for university admission tests will begin in a few months. But universities are yet to draw up any concrete plan to implement “cluster system admission test.”

Under the proposed cluster system, admission seekers will be enrolled at the universities based on the merit list prepared from a single test. Students will need to take one test for a place in any of the general universities, another test for science and technology universities and one more test for a place in any of the agriculture universities.

At present we have 49 public universities and they take admission tests separately, but the dates are very close to each other. As most of the students tend to try their luck in as many universities as possible, they have to go through enormous struggle to travel back and forth from one city to another.

This cumbersome admission process is a challenge for the students both physically and mentally. This struggle includes accommodation, food and transportation. Many cannot reach admission centres in time, while many others fall sick due to the strenuous process. Besides, it also burdens parents with extra financial costs.

Last year, we have seen admission seekers sleeping in open spaces of different university campuses and even in train stations. Some were also killed in road accidents or by muggers.

All these inhuman sufferings and loss of lives could have been averted had the universities introduced “cluster system admission tests” in the light of the National Education Policy 2010. This system of admission test was proposed considering the aforementioned sufferings of admission seekers. This is, however, not an entirely foreign concept. Our medical colleges and colleges under national university have long been enrolling students under this system.

We remember that last year President Abdul Hamid, who is the chancellor of all universities, held a meeting with vice-chancellors of public universities in this regard, and the system was supposed to be introduced from 2018. We wrote editorials welcoming the decision, but unfortunately, universities backtracked at the last moment under the pretext of “not having enough time.”

Now the question is – will the university authorities sort out adequate time to introduce the system from this year or will they concoct a new excuse? They cannot ignore the wish of the President and we hope it will be implemented for students seeking university admissions this year.