With an objective to relieve CBSE, AICTE, IITs, IIMs and other agencies from the responsibility of conducting entrance examinations, the Union Cabinet on Friday approved a proposal for the creation of a National Testing Agency (NTA) to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.
“The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on Friday has approved the creation of a National Testing Agency (NTA) as a Society registered under the Indian Society Registration Act, 1860, and as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions,” said a press release from the PMO.
“The NTA would initially conduct those entrance examinations that are currently being conducted by the CBSE. Other examinations will be taken up gradually by the NTA,” the release said, adding, “Under the NTA, the entrance examinations will be conducted online at least twice a year to give adequate opportunity to the candidates to bring out their best.”
Terming the approval, a historic decision and a much-needed educational reform, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “Creation of National Testing Agency, a single agency to conduct all entrance exams, with experts on board, will bring in high reliability, standardised assessing aptitude & conduct of tamper-proof exams.”
Establishment of NTA will benefit about 4 million students appearing in various entrance examinations and will also bring in high reliability, standardised difficulty level to assess the aptitude, intelligence and problem-solving abilities of the students.
The NTA will be created as a society registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860, and as an autonomous and self-sustaining premier testing organisation to conduct entrance tests for higher educational institutes.
To serve the requirements for rural students, the NTA will locate centres at sub-district and district level and undertake hands-on training programmes.
The NTA will comprise a chairman (an eminent educationist appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development); a CEO who will be the director general and appointed by the Centre; and a board of governors comprising members from user institutions. The director general will be assisted by nine verticals headed by academicians and experts.
The NTA will receive a one-time grant of Rs. 25 crores from the Centre to start its operation. Thereafter, it will function on a self-sustaining model.
Apart from Class X and Class XII board exams, CBSE also 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).