In an effort to relieve the CBSE, AICTE and other agencies from the responsibility of conducting entrance examinations, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared a proposal for the creation of a National Testing Agency (NTA). The NTA will be created as a society under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860. The agency will be an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.
The NTA will be chaired by an eminent educationist appointed by Human Resources Development Ministry, the CEO will be the Director-General, who will be appointed by the government and there will be a Board of Governors comprising members from user institutions. The Director-General of this body will be assisted by nine verticals headed by academicians and experts. The Government will give a one-time grant of Rs.25 crores to the National Testing Agency to start its operations in the first year. Thereafter, it is expected to be financially self-sustainable.
The education sector got a substantial boost in the 2017-18 budget, with finance minister Arun Jaitley allocating Rs79,686 crore, which is up by more than 10% from last year.
What will be the tasks of National Testing Agency (NTA)?
- Apart from Class 10 and Class 12 board exams, CBSE conducts five other tests — Joint Engineering Entrance (JEE), National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET, for medical courses), University Grants Commission’s National Eligibility Test (for lectureship, held twice a year), Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET, held twice a year) and the test for Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (schools for gifted students). With the establishment of this agency, the CBSE will be relieved of holding such entrance tests.
- Initially, it is proposed that NTA would start with the entrance examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Once it is completely set up and fully functional, other examinations will also be taken up.
- The agency will be responsible to conduct the entrance tests in the online mode. The exams will be conducted twice a year to facilitate candidates with opportunities in bringing out the best in them.
- In order to serve the requirements of the rural students, it would locate the centres at sub-district and district level and as far as possible would undertake hands-on training to the students.
Why is it good to set up National Testing Agency (NTA)?
- Establishment of NTA will benefit about 40 lakh students appearing in various entrance examinations. The aspiring students will be able to write down the entrance examinations with much ease under the aegis of one agency set up exclusively for this purpose.
- Two attempts for each student as proposed will mean that they now have a chance to improve their scores if they wish to. What’s more!! The better of the two scores will be considered.
- It will relieve the CBSE, AICTE and other agencies from the responsibility of conducting these entrance examinations.
- With the proposed standardized difficulty levels for assessing the aptitude and problem-solving abilities of the students, the tests will bring in the high-reliability factor to the fore.