How Andhra’s decision to postpone CETs to September may affect students

How Andhra’s decision to postpone CETs to September may affect students

With the Common Entrance Tests (CETs) postponed to the third week of September, admissions may only happen by the end of October.

The Andhra Pradesh government on Monday announced that all Common Entrance Tests (CETs) in the state stand postponed. While the education department had earlier planned to conduct the tests towards the end of July, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy gave directions to postpone the exams further, in light of the pandemic. 

The CETs are conducted for admission into various undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The deferred tests include EAMCET (Engineering Agricultural and Medical Common Entrance Test), ICET (for admission into MBA and MCA programs), ECET (for lateral entry into B-Tech courses), LAWCET (for LLB courses), EdCET (for B Ed programs), and PGCET (for postgraduate courses). 

While the exact dates for the tests are yet to be decided, Education Minister Adimulapu Suresh reportedly said that EAMCET (Engineering Agricultural and Medical Common Entrance Test) would likely be held in the third week of September. 

EAMCET is usually held in the months of April or May, and the counselling process and admissions are completed by July or August. With the test now postponed to mid-September, students may have to wait till November for college admissions to be finalised and for classes to commence. 

Engineering college managements say that while the delay of nearly four months is substantial, students enrolling into the first year can manage to have a normal academic year if classes begin at the earliest. “If admissions are completed in October and classes start by November, by cutting down holidays and cancelling the summer break, the first-year courses can be completed by July 2021,” said R Venkata Rao, Chairman of the NRI Institute of Technology in Vijayawada. 

Another management official of an engineering college in East Godavari noted that while AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) guidelines for the academic calendar require around 46 weeks to accommodate classes, examinations, and preparation holidays and other breaks, relaxations could be made in light of the pandemic for the incoming batch of students. 

GVK Reddy of the Telangana Engineering College Managements Association notes that EAMCET counselling has been delayed on multiple occasions in the past in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. “For various reasons, counselling was delayed and classes have started as late as October. There will be some impact, but colleges can make it up over a period of time if classes start by early November. If delayed beyond that, there might be concerns, but exceptions can be made for this particular batch to make up for the lost time over the next three years.”

Noting that the biggest concern for students is that they do not lose an entire academic year, GVK Reddy said that the academic calendar can be tweaked by removing a few holidays and conducting multiple exams in a single day. 

However, college managements are also concerned over whether the exams will even be held in September or delayed further. They expressed worry that the pandemic situation may not improve much, or may even worsen by September, and that in retrospect, holding the exams in July or August may end up seeming like a safer choice. 

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