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National level aptitude test for higher education
Ministry of Human Resource Development is aspiring to replace the existing entrance tests for higher education with a single national level aptitude test. The ministry is also finalising a vocational framework for school children.

Bangalore: In a move that could radically change the system of admissions to colleges and institutions of higher learning , the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is contemplating introducing a national-level entrance test for different streams of learning.

Speaking at the 17th National Annual Sahodaya Schools’ Conference here on Monday, organised by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Sahodaya School Complex of Bangalore, MHRD Joint Secretary, S.C. Khuntia, said that the test would evaluate the aptitude of students in various streams at the level of Class 12 – be it Law, Science, Medicine and so on. The percentile score obtained by a student would be accepted by institutions across institutions in the country.

This would, in effect, mean that the present system where each college or institution has its own system entrance exams would be done away with or integrated into the new system.
Mr. Khuntia said that the system might be in place by 2013, though the contours of how the exams would be framed and or who would conduct them are still to be finalized.

Vocational education
Mr. Khuntia also said that the MHRD was in the process of finalizing the National Vocational Qualification Framework. The framework focuses on developing a system of vocational education with different levels of training starting at the school level from class nine, with a choice for selecting the area of interest, he said. This could be ready by the next academic year, he added, and could address the issue of skill deficit in the country.

Speaking about the need to change the emphasis away from examinations, Mr. Khuntia pointed out that the about two-thirds of students at Class 10 in CBSE had opted not to take board exams, as they were given a choice, which indicated that children were moving away from exam-centric mindset. The education system should move away from rote learning to one that emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving.

Source: The Hindu