Mumbai: Students demand return of old entrance exam format

18 November,2023 07:45 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Dipti Singh

Aspirants say change has come too late, want TISS NET reinstated at least for year 2024-25; students’ body says NTA’s common exam is unsuitable for TISS

TISS’s notification on the shift to CUET-PG said it was in accordance with the central education ministry’s and UGC’s mandate. File pic


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A recent decision by the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) to rely solely on the Common University Entrance Test Post Graduate (CUET-PG) for the academic year 2024-25, thus discontinuing the TISS NET, has led to discontent among the students. The Progressive Students' Forum-TISS (PSF-TISS) called the decision an assault on the core identity of TISS and its cherished campus culture. Numerous aspirants who dedicated nearly a year to preparing for TISS NET perceive the change as abrupt and unjust and have demanded the reinstatement of TISS NET.

Students argued that the two exams differ significantly in nature and format, making it challenging to adjust to the change, especially at this critical juncture when there are only a few months left before the test. Students also emphasised that the notification was issued ‘at the last minute', leaving a majority of aspirants with limited or no alternatives. If the notification had been issued in advance, they argue, they could have prepared more effectively.

‘Following UGC rules'

According to TISS's November 14 notification and a partial amendment on November 17, admissions to all PG courses would be based on CUET-PG scores. The earlier notification said that admissions to two courses would be based on the Common Admission Test (CAT) scores, which was amended. "The changes are in compliance with the mandate by the Ministry of Education and University Grants Commission (UGC) to conduct the CUET for admission to post graduate (PG) programmes in Central, State and other participating universities, institutions, organisations and autonomous colleges," the notification read.

The PSF-TISS said in a statement on Friday, "The notice announces the arbitrary scrapping of the NET examination for the PG admissions in favour of CUET-PG. Therefore, this would become a part of a centralised examination instead of holding its own entrance examination."

The statement also pointed out that the deadline to apply for CAT was September 21, which would force students aspiring to pursue MA in Human Resource Management and Labour Relations and MA in Organisation, Development, Change and Leadership to take a gap year. "The administration must clarify the admission procedure and create an alternative way for students to apply for these programs," the statement read. TISS's November 17 amendment to its notification resolved this aspect of students' contention.

‘CUET not for TISS'

PSF-TISS's statement further read, "PSF-TISS also condemns this move by the administration that threatens to destroy the very character of the institute. A social science university with an interdisciplinary approach open to students from all walks of life sets TISS apart from the numerous institutes in India. The adoption of CUET will result in backtracking of the vision with which TISS was established. In the last two academic years in which CUET has been adopted by various universities and institutions across the country, we have witnessed the careless conduct of the examination by the National Testing Agency (NTA).

"Further, the academic cycle of TISS is not designed to accommodate the timeline of CUET. Traditionally, the academic cycle at TISS starts well before even the results of CUET-PG are announced. This ensures that students spend sufficient time in classrooms and on field visits to ensure they are academically equipped for the placements. With such an unprecedented change being planned, the academic life of students at TISS is bound to suffer tremendously. PSF-TISS strongly stands against this anti-student measure and calls for the reinstatement of TISSNET."

An aspiring student with the handle @riteshjyotii posted on X (formerly Twitter), "This still does not do justice to aspirants. This decision remains unfavourable and abrupt as it leaves students vulnerable, lacking sufficient time to prepare for the domain subjects. The best for all is @TISSpeak @ugc_india should reconsider TISSnet for at least 2024-25."

Nov 14
Day TISS issued notification

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