Series of entrance exams gets on students’ nerves

Chennai: After the hectic preparations for the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) on Sunday, 17-year-old Raghav of Mylapore deserved a break. But he will continue with a gruelling schedule for at least another month, as he prepares for a series of entrance exams of different colleges and universities.
“I am not sure if I will make it to the IITs. So I am giving the All Indian Engineering Entrance Examinations (AIEEE) a shot hoping to join the National Institute of Technology. My father wants me to have the Vellore Institute of Technology University and SRM University as fallback options. Both deemed universities have announced their own entrance examinations. That means I will be hopping from one examination centre to another till May,” frets the teenager, who is also anxious about his Board examination results.
Raghav’s case illustrates a paradox of sorts in Tamil Nadu, where the state government’s abolition of the common entrance test for admission to professional courses has made no difference to the students’ ordeal of appearing for a series of entrance examinations. At least nine deemed universities conduct their own entrance exams. With deemed universities like VIT, Sathyabama and SRM commanding a good standing in academics, parents and students are eager to join in them only if they do not get into the IITs, ITs or Anna University. Incidentally, the SASTRA University in Thanjavur admits 70% students through the Plus Two marks normalization procedure and 30% on the basis of the AIEEE scores. The Dr MGR University grants admission on the basis of Plus Two marks. VIT chancellor G Viswanathan agrees that multiple entrance tests put students under tremendous pressure. “An ideal situation would be for the government to conduct a single national entrance examination on the lines of the SAT for admission to any institution across the country. But the central and state governments do not see eye to eye on such a concept,” he said.