Despite the state government announcing that the annual CET (Common Entrance Test) will be held online, it seems unlikely that it will be rolled out in 2020. The CET is the entrance exam for engineering, agriculture and pharma courses.
Deccan Herald reported that the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) had in fact started preparations for the offline mode of examinations. A senior official was quoted as saying that there has been no announcement about conducting the CET online, and any such step would cause panic among students and parents at a time when the exam date was near. The CET examination is usually held in April every year.
A majority of the more than 2 lakh students who take the test come from rural areas. Such areas often lack infrastructure and students there lack practice in the use of computers. Also, one computer each is needed for each test-taker. However, that many computers may not be available. The Hindu quoted an official as saying that a ground study found that only around 30,000 computers are available, which is a huge shortage compared to the actual requirement.
There are also logistical problems with conducting such an exam in the online mode. The current pen-and-paper exam is taken over two days and has four papers: physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology. However, with an online examination, the whole format would have to be changed. Sources told the Hindu that the online examination would have to be held in one session, putting additional pressure on the students. This will take a lot of planning and preparation, along with government approvals, the source added.
The KEA, while rolling out such initiatives, usually conducts several rounds of mock tests for test-takers to make them feel at ease with the medium. However, this has not been the case with CET. After the Higher Education ministry’s announcement regarding the online mode of examinations, several coaching centres had already begun training students in this mode.