The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly “unanimously” adopted a resolution on Monday requesting the Union government to drop its plan to hold a Common University Entrance Test (CUET). Except for the BJP, all political parties backed Chief Minister M.K. Stalin’s decision.
From the academic year 2022-2023, the University Grants Commission declared that admissions to various courses, including undergraduate programs, in all Central institutions [supported by it] would be based only on CUET scores.
“There is no doubt that this CUET, like NEET, will marginalize the diverse school education systems across the country, severely undercut the relevance of overall development-oriented long-form learning in schools, and force students to rely on coaching centers to improve their entrance examination scores,” the resolution stated.
According to the Assembly resolution, the people of Tamil Nadu believed that the CUET would only encourage the proliferation of coaching centres, and that requiring such an entrance examination alongside regular schooling would cause mental stress among the student community.
The House believed that any entrance examination based on the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) syllabus would not provide equal opportunity to all students who had studied in different State Board syllabi across the country. In most states, the State Board syllabus accounted for more than 80% of the total student population, with these students invariably coming from marginalised groups. “As a result, an NCERT syllabus-based entrance examination would disadvantage this deserving majority in gaining admission to Central universities,” it said.
According to the resolution, in the context of Tamil Nadu, this was likely to significantly reduce the number of students from the state enrolled in various Central universities and their affiliated colleges. “Because this resolution reflects the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu, I request the Union government to withdraw the CUET on behalf of the 8.5 crore people of Tamil Nadu,” Mr. Stalin said.
Other Parties Stand
In the presence of Leader of the Opposition Edappadi K. Palaniswami and party’s deputy floor leader O. Panneerselvam, AIADMK legislator and former Minister K.P. Anbalagan supported the resolution on behalf of his party. Mr. Anbalagan (Palacode) stated that late AIADMK leader and former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, too, had always advocated for state rights.
PMK floor leader G.K. Mani (Pennagaram), VCK floor leader M. Sinthanai Selvan (Kattumannarkoil), Communist Party of India’s M. Chinnadurai (Gandharvakottai), Communist Party of India’s T. Ramachandran (Thalli), Papanasam MLA M.H. Jawahirullah, Tiruchengodu MLA E.R. Eswaran,
BJP’s Stand On CUET
BJP floor leader Nainar Nagendiran (Tirunelveli) said entrance exams for admissions to the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Indian Institute of Management in Tiruchi, and National Institute of Technology in Tiruchi had been in place for several years and urged the resolution to be reconsidered. Later, he led his party members in a walkout. Following a voice vote, Speaker M. Appavu declared that the resolution had been adopted “unanimously” by the House’s 234 members. The resolution was introduced “to exercise the rights of state governments.”