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    Students who fell victim to CUET glitches recount chaos — fear losing dream college

    Students who fell victim to CUET glitches recount chaos — fear losing dream college

    Students who fell victim to CUET glitches recount chaos — fear losing dream college
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    By Nishtha Pandey   IST (Updated)

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    Technical glitches and mismanagement in conducting the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) by the National Testing Agency (NTA) have left students concerned. NTA has been assuring students to be patient as they will ensure that the tests run smoothly moving forward, but students fear missing out on chosen colleges.

    Aamna Singh is an 18-year-old who had finally finished school and was to take a test to get an undergraduate seat at one of India's central universities. All she had to do was clear the Common University Entrance Test (CUET), but now she and thousands like her are uncertain of their college dreams.
    “I wasn’t able to give the exam on the first attempt as the test centre was changed suddenly," Singh, based in Delhi, told CNBC-TV18.
    But what happened?
    CUET-Undergraduate (UG) is a mandatory all-India level examination for admission to undergraduate programmes in all central universities. CUET is the revamped version of the Central Universities Common Entrance Test. The National Testing Agency (NTA) took over the conduct of these exams in 2021 and launched CUET this year as part of the National Education Policy 2020.
    As per the website of CUET, the exam had 14.9 lakh registrations, and NTA allotted 560 centres to conduct the exams. The computer-based exam was to be conducted in two phases. Phase I was on July 15, 16,19, and 20 and Phase II was on August 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 20.
    On July 15, the first day for Phase I, like Singh, many students claim that after reaching the test centres mentioned on their admit cards, they were told that centres had been changed. Many didn't get enough time to commute to the new centre, which led to them missing the exam.
    Singh, who applied for the English, general test and legal studies, had her first test at Delhi’s Dwarka, but she was directed to go to North Campus — a distance of around 1 hour 15 minutes if one is lucky and doesn't get stuck in traffic. The result: Missed test.
    Technical glitches
    "I was allowed to sit for Phase II, but then the test was cancelled in my centre due to technical glitches. With such haphazardness, I don’t know what will happen in the new slots created. I don't even know if I will be able to get my desired college,” Singh said.
    The exam at two centres in West Bengal's New Jalpaiguri and Punjab's Pathankot was also cancelled due to technical issues.
    Vaishali Malhotra, a student from Hyderabad who sat for English studies, economics and general test paper, told CNBC-TV18 she had planned to finish the first slot by 12.15 pm, but her screen kept on freezing and going black.
    "It took me 30 minutes more to finish from my set deadline. Anxiety built up and affected my other two papers as well. I managed to sit for the exam but just couldn’t perform. I cannot sit again, so I don’t know if I will get the college that I want,” said Malhotra.
    Due to the glitches and the cancellations, NTA has allowed around 190 students to retake the test in Phase II. Singh was part of this batch.
    If Phase I had issues, Phase II had bigger problems. On August 4, the NTA said that the morning shift of the test was cancelled across 29 centres in 17 states and Union Territories. On August 6, the test was cancelled across 53 centres in India. In many centres, the first shift of the exam was cancelled, while the second shift was postponed for all the students.
    18-year-old Deepika Pandey travelled from Delhi to Gurugram on August 6 as she didn't get the centre near her house she opted for.
    “August 6 was very chaotic. We had no confirmation on whether the test will happen or had been postponed. I saw a lot of students break down. I get this constant thought that I might just miss one year of college because of all this uncertainty and mismanagement by authorities,” Pandey told CNBC-TV18.
    Another student, Madhurjya Borah, faced similar issues with travel and raised his concerns on Twitter.
    What next?
    As per news agency PTI, around 50,000 candidates faced problems in the CUET 2022 Phase II. Keeping this in the picture, the NTA notified on August 8 that exams would be reconducted from August 24 to 28.
    “CUET is an important exam for students to get admission to their desired colleges. If they have to go through so much trouble, it will impact their performance even in the retest,” said Anu Jain, consulting psychologist and career counsellor based in Hyderabad.
    Jain says the students should be given more time to prepare themselves, and admit cards should be issued earlier for ease of travel.
    Meanwhile, the NTA has been assuring students not to panic as they will ensure that the tests run smoothly moving forward.
    Phase III of the exam will be held on August 17, 18, and 20, as scheduled.
    The candidates are advised to keep visiting the NTA website nta.ac.in for updates regarding the examination. They are also advised to check the websites of universities and colleges they wish to study at.
    What about colleges?
    Undergraduate admissions are likely to get delayed due to CUET exam cancellations. As per reports, Delhi University officials now expect a delay of at least a week in admissions. Delhi University requires the CUET results in the second of a three-stage onboarding process.
    Meanwhile, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) has voiced concerns over the delay in admissions. They want the old admission procedure, where JNU conducted its own exams, to be restored instead of relying on the NTA.
    (Image source: PTI)
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