National Aptitude Test made mandatory for Class 12 students
In a step that may have momentous effect on the access to higher education, HRD minister Kapil Sibal proposed that students seeking admissions to central universities will have to pass a National Aptitude Test (NAT). NAT will test students’ communication and analytical skills.
Announcing the “in-principle” decision, Sibal proposed that students will qualify for admission to central universities during academic year 2011-12 based on their class XII marks and NAT scores.
“The process of admission for undergraduates has to be stress-free. At the [vice-chancellors of central universities] conference, it was unanimously decided that there should be a new system of admission to colleges that would require marks obtained in class XII exams and NAT scores,” stated Sibal.
He also said that each university can independently decide on the weightage it wants to give to the marks students secure in the class XII exams.
As of now, in India each central university is autonomous and therefore, has its own system of admission. While some give preference to marks scored in entrance exams, others give weightage to class XII marks.
For instance, Delhi University gives weightage to cut-off marks to shortlist students, but many departments conduct their own exams to select the best students. Sibal argued the move was essential as students who pass by rote learning score higher marks and easily get admission to colleges even if they don’t possess the communication or analytical skills.
The new system will test these and ensure there’s no bias. However, parents, teachers and students have raised their voice against the proposal.