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Sibal moots Common Entrance Test for new Central Universities

Union Minister for Human Resources Development Kapil Sibal today mooted the idea of a Common Entrance Test for the 15 new Central Universities being set up by the Government around the country.

Addressing a meeting of the Vice-Chancellors of the new universities here, Mr Sibal said a common test would enable a common counselling process and obviate the need for students and their families to travel to different locations for entrance tests and counselling sessions.

The meeting was attended by the Vice-Chancellors of the new Central Universities in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu.

Also present were the Vice-Chancellors of three erstwhile State Universities in Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh which have now been the status of Central Universities.

Mr R P Agrawal, Secretary, Higher Education, and University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Sukhdeo Thorat were amongst the others who attended the meeting.

The Government had decided some weeks ago that, as a special case, there would be two Central Universities in Jammu & Kashmir after dropping the proposal for setting up an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in the state.

The Vice-Chancellors of the new universities made presentations on their vision for their institutions and details of the courses envisaged, infrastructure and human resource issues as well as individual problem areas.

Mr Sibal told them that the Central Universities must set benchmarks for academic excellence for other universities in the country.

He said they should create an eco-system in their states for high quality reserch and design courses which would help create employment within the state. He also advised them to create alliances and chairs with other parts of the world.

The minister suggested that the courses should be designed in such a manner that would make possible the temporary mobility of students and faculty from one institution to the other. He stressed that the courses must be in conformity with the eco-system of the region.

He urged them to invite faculty from abroad and from the private sector in India for short-term teaching stints.

Mr Sibal said the UGC had been asked to set up a panel to coordinate with the Vice-Chancellors to minimise the number of common courses among the Central Universities. He said the UGC would also be asked to look at the possibility of changing its guidelines so that world class faculty could be brought in.

The Minister said the universities must aim for "green" campuses and buildings that are world-class and aesthetic. He said each university would be provided with one giga byte of broadband connectivity.

NNN

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