COURTESY: The Telegraph
The government is considering a proposal to have all the deemed universities and engineering colleges admit their students through the Joint Entrance Examination Main and common counselling.
Such single-window admission, the human resource development ministry believes, will help ensure standards across colleges and curb the racket of capitation fee-driven teaching shops.
Admission to medical and dental courses is already governed by a common exam. The Supreme Court recently ruled that all medical and dental colleges and deemed universities must admit students through the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test, allowing certain exemptions only for this year.
"We are looking at a proposal to have all the engineering institutions admit students through the JEE Main," a senior ministry official said.
Sources said the University Grants Commission, the higher education regulator, might be asked to pass such a regulation.
The Central Board of Secondary Education conducts the JEE Main, which now regulates admission to the National Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Information Technology and state-level engineering colleges in places such as Haryana and Gujarat.
The JEE Main also functions as a screening test for the JEE Advanced, which governs admissions to the Indian Institutes of Technology.
Currently, JEE Main-based admission to national-level institutes is done through a national-level process of common counselling. If and when all the institutions start admitting students through the JEE Main, separate state-level common counselling processes will have to be held.
Sources said that if a state does not want to conduct common counselling for its engineering colleges, these institutions might be allowed their individual counselling processes - but they must be a transparent online exercise.
Common counselling is key to checking the illegal practice, adopted by some institutions, of allowing candidates to leapfrog rivals higher on the merit list by paying hefty capitation fees. In case of common counselling, done online, institutes cannot breach the merit list.
More than 100 entrance tests are now held - at the state and institution levels - for admission to the country's 4,000 engineering colleges, forcing candidates to travel to multiple centres. A single entrance test and common counselling will bring relief to lakhs of aspiring engineers.
Most of India's 123 deemed universities now admit students through their own entrance tests and counselling processes. There are instances of candidates getting impersonators to take the test on their behalf to secure higher scores.
In 2012, the human resource development ministry had unsuccessfully tried to persuade all engineering colleges to admit students through the JEE Main. This time it's thinking of making the directive mandatory.