CUET Chaotic, Normalisation Could've Been Done With Boards: Prof Nandita Narain

Delhi University will prepare lists on the basis of the normalised scores, Prof Narain said.

4 min read
Edited By :Ahamad Fuwad

The results of the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) were declared early morning on 16 September. With normalised scores as well as percentiles in their scorecards, students are confused about which marks will be considered while applying to central universities.  

Delhi University (DU), which is among the 43 central universities to have adopted CUET this year, will prepare lists on the basis of the normalised scores. But since this is the first time the exam is being implemented on such a large scale, there are a number of questions regarding the way forward.  

The Quint speaks to Nandita Narain, a professor at Delhi's St Stephen’s College and the former president of Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA), about what will be done next, whether the new system is fair, and whether it is causing delays in the admissions process.  


How is the new system working so far? Do you think that it is better than the older system of relying on board marks?  

No, not really. Many students are getting 100 percentiles, which means that we might have to fall back on the board results. Many more people are getting 100 percentiles, which is the first rank, as compared to the number of students who got 100 percent in the earlier system of relying on boards.  

Earlier, the only discrepancy was that there were students applying from different boards. But if we had to do normalisation, we could have done the same with the different boards too.  

But here, the normalisation is being done based on the date on which they sat for the test.  

The new system has a whole new set of issues – wastage of time, delaying the process, pushing students towards private universities and causing them so much stress and trauma due to the glitches.  So many students would come from out of town and then have to put up in cities, only to be told that the exam had been cancelled.  

This is what happens when things are done in a hurry, without being thought through.  

How does the CUET impact the admission calendar?  

We have already lost three months. This is leading to a waste of infrastructure, time, and money. Students are paying fees for the maintenance of colleges, and the classrooms are just not being used. Students too, are waiting but are not getting to attend college.

The Delhi University vice chancellor said that classes will start by 1 November, regardless of whether all rounds of seat allocation are complete. Is that possible?  

It is an absolute mess. It is a much longer process if everything is centralised. Now that they have the board marks and the CUET results, they should let the colleges handle it. I do not know why they want to centralise it. It will be even more chaotic because then you would have to wait. I do not see us completing the entire process by November 1.  

The VC has said we will start by 1 November irrespective. But what about those who have to join late for no fault of theirs? They will miss out on so much. It is a college, and education does not work like this. 

Students should be in class from day 1 in order to understand the subject. The first few months are the foundation, especially for the first-year students. If they join in the middle, they might not be able to follow through. It is not reasonable.  

Is there any talk of taking class 12 marks into consideration?

Yes, there is a discussion. No such formal decision has been taken but we will have to do something if two people have the same score. We are all quite worried and are waiting to settle down. It will be very unfair to a lot of students.  

The admissions committee will start looking at it and then understand what to do next.  


Who is responsible for the merit list – the colleges themselves or the universities?  

So far, the university is doing it in a centralised way. The colleges will not be deciding, they will be sending us students based on the preferences that students have put in their forms and on the basis of how high they are on the merit list.  

They are saying that it should not take too long because the system will avoid repetition as it will be done on the basis of the student’s choices. This means that we will not have to take out a second, third, fourth list. Earlier, students would take admission in one college and then leave when their name came out in the third list of another college. They say that that will be avoided, but I am not too sure.  

They won’t take admission in one institute and then drop out It is meant to save time, but I am not sure if it will work.

Previously, the merit list would be made by DU and then the students will go to the respective colleges. The colleges' role is to just admit the students. Even in earlier years, that is how It was done in colleges, besides Stephen’s which would conduct interviews. They would not take out a merit list, but announce a cut-off, based on which a particular number of students would apply.   

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Edited By :Ahamad Fuwad
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