Finally the much-awaited uniform admission test or Central Admission Test (CAT) is going to be introduced for enrolling students on all the public universities from this academic year.
After ten years of efforts, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is all set to introduce the central admission test to reduce hassles of admission seekers and their guardian during the entry test every year.After a meeting with the vice-chancellors of 12 major public universities including Dhaka University and BUET, the UGC on Wednesday announced that they will introduce the central admission test from this year.
Seeking anonymity, several UGC and ministry officials confirmed to the daily sun that they are determined to introduce the system even if any university does not come to the process this year.
Earlier, Bangladesh Bishwabidyalaya Parishad (BBP), an association of vice-chancellors of public universities at a meeting on Tuesday decided to hold the uniform admission test at all public universities this year.
However, VCs of 12 universities including the DU, BUET, and the JU did not attend the BBP meeting on the day. Later, UGC chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah on Wednesday sat in a meeting with the VCs of 12 public universities.
UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah said, “We have unanimously decided to hold a central admission test from this year at public universities to mitigate the sufferings of the students.”
He also said, “None at the meeting expressed reservations about the new system. A few universities said they would need to follow their procedures before adopting the system.”However, Dhaka University VC Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman said, “We have discussed how a centralised admission test can take place during the meeting with UGC chairman.”
“DU will take its final decision on the issue after holding meetings at its academic council and general admission committee,” he said.
Sources said UGC will start work fully next month on the procedures and methods of the admission system styled ‘Central Admission Test’. Several committees will be formed incorporating the university teachers for holding the test.
The UGC, a regulatory body of the universities, will also give an all-out assistance to the universities for holding the central admission test.
According to the UGC plans, there will be three exams -- one each for science, humanities and commerce students -- based on HSC syllabus and each exam could be for up to 100 marks.
Of the 100 marks, some 50 percent questions could be multiple choice questions (MCQ) and the rest short questions in the central admission test.
It was also known that a committee will decide on who will conduct the test. Each of the universities will be able to fix a minimum score required for admission to that university and also set other conditions if necessary. But the universities will not be allowed to take further admission test.
Earlier, the education ministry in 2010 had decided in principle to lower the number of admission tests by taking one test for a cluster of universities, help cut down the expenditure of admission seekers, reduce the burden on students and curb the coaching centre business.
The UGC annual report 2016 termed the current admission system questionable and expensive while an earlier UGC study in May 2013 found an admission-seeker spending an average of Tk43,100 on coaching and other related expenditure including travel.
From time to time president Abdul Hamid, who is also the chancellor of all public universities of the country, suggested holding the public university admission tests centrally.
Earlier on February 1, 2018 when the VCs went to meet him at Bangabhaban, the president asked the VCs of all public universities to introduce a unified admission test.
Two committees -- one formed by the education ministry and the other by the Bangladesh Bishwabidyalay Parishad, a platform of vice-chancellors, were also working long on introducing the unified admission system.
But the UGC could not introduce the admission test in the last ten years as some top public universities had been opposing the idea after it was floated around a decade ago.
Allegation was found that they opposed the admission system as they think that it would cut the income of the universities from the admission process.
There are 39 public universities in the country, which are admitting around 65,000 students every year through separate admission tests.
Currently, the admission test for public and private medical colleges is being organised centrally while as a part of introducing the uniform admission test, a cluster system of admission test was held for seven agricultural universities in last academic year.
Earlier, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni also announced that they would go for uniform admission test for 2020-2021 academic year for the public universities.