The results of the CET (Common Examination Test) for medical and engineering colleges in Maharashtra were announced today.
'CET pushes HSC to second place' observed the Times of India. 'Blackboards announding names of toppers, sweets being distributed in colleges, parents hugging toppers for cameras... ' And toppers being shown off/ felicitated by both colleges and coaching classes.
The CET result is what will determine the future of those who wish to take up medicine, engineering, pharmacy courses. Not the Physics Chemistry Maths (PCM ) or Physics Chemistry Biology (PCB) marks at the 12th class Board exam.
Aspirants to courses like BMS (Bachelor of Management Studies) must also take a CET. And for BMM (Bachelor of Mass Media), there isn't even a CET, every college holds its own entrance exam.
So to the 155, 460 students who gave the medical and engineering CET (plus BMM/ BMS aspirants), the HSC exam is a mere formality. I'm told HSC marks are used as a 'tie breaker' when students have the same CET score. And I guess it is of use if you don't get a seat in a professional course and wish to join a regular B Sc/ B A / B Com.
What I don't understand is how the introduction of CET helps anyone... I mean the HSC (Higher Secondary Certificate Board Examination) was a Common Entrance Test except it was not called one.
The difference is that the HSC is subjective while CET is objective. And CET tests the HSC portion + a little bit extra.
But what are the real advantages, if any? Is the CET more fair and transparent? Does it test aptitude for science in a better manner??
Whatever be the answer, it knocks off the Board exam from its all-important pedestal to a mere 'necessary evil'.
On a more radical note, perhaps Board Exams should be 'optional'? Yeah right, like Rakhi Sawant will start attending parties in turtle necks. But seriously, we talk of taking pressure off students. Well, that's certainly not happening!
College attitudes change
The average engineering aspirant ends up giving several entrance exams:
- state CET
- in some states, private colleges are conducting a separate CET
And on top of that, the Board Exam, jo saidyon se chala aa raha hai.
Now I would not say ek hi exam hona chahiye because then everything depends on your performance on a single day.
But the result of CET gaining ground is that the focus of students is divided. Coaching classes gain even more importance - as most colleges still concentrate on HSC portions and not CET. However, that is rapidly changing.
Colleges are now tutoring students for entrance exams. According to the TOI report, Ruparel held 3 Mock CETs, KC has introduced a 'compulsory paper' on the lines of CET for science students, Vaze offers CET coaching from class 11 itself and S K Somaiya even tutored students for JEE.
Of course, this would not stop students from joining coaching classes but, it's a carrot to make them attend college. And, in future, perhaps the availability of additional, good quality coaching in certain colleges may influence the decision of which college to join after class 10.
Interestingly, 81, 765 students or 52% of test takers took BOTH the medical and engineering CET!
Which again, goes to show, that the average 17 year old hardly knows his or her mind. And can adjust equally to the idea of poring over 'Grey's Anatomy' or delving deep into electronic circuit boards.
And well, if that is the case, more power to you.
I think in the end it all boils down to temperament.
Many of us can eat whatever is put onto our plates - and enjoy it. Others are fussy eaters.
To take the analogy a bit further, like food is a means of satisfying hunger in the literal sense, a course of study is a means of satisfying 'hunger' for a good job, a secure life.
It all boils down to the question: How 'hungry' are you? And whatever food - or course - you find on your plate, can you relish it?
That is my answer to Vivek Malewar, who raises some pertinent points to my previous two posts on IIT at any cost...
The debate continues
Vivek notes: "It's a pity that people consider Engineering = Software job... Best jobs of ANY branch are high paying. Best apps. of ANY branch are hugely attractive... the IIT tag does help".
Agreed. But 'best jobs' in ANY branch go to people who are able to get over the initial disappointment of not getting the branch they desired (rightly or wrongly, based on whatever little information or spurious notions they had, CS/ Electronics do have a halo!).
The best jobs in ANY branch go to the folks who make a sincere effort to excel in their understanding of the subject. Develop a genuine liking and passion for it. And not to those who decide in 2nd year itself, "yaar MBA hi karna hai... these are just exams one needs to pass to get there".
And of course IIT is a great institution, adds excellent value and attracts some very fine students. Didn't I say that to begin with?
But as 'Viv' commented: "To assume that a topper from a non IIT is a topper only because of lack of competition would make for a great ego trip but lacks any sound reasoning...
A little humility never hurt anyone. And arrogance never takes you into the superleague of 'success'.