Admission test under cluster system: End sufferings of students

Prothom Alo illustration

A decision was taken at a meeting with the universities’ vice chancellors at University Grants Commission (UGC) on 7 April that 32 public universities will hold admission tests for honours first-year students under cluster system this year. The new three universities holding admission test under cluster system are Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman University in Kishoreganj, Chandpur Science and Technology University and Habiganj Agricultural University. Eight universities are holding the admission test separately.

At the meeting, the UGC made several recommendations to solve the problems occurred during the last year’s cluster admission test.

The UGC asked the universities concerned to resolve the hassles by helping students in selecting their desired university centrally, completing the migration process by stipulated schedule, fixing the reasonable admission fee and collecting admission fees only for the university where a student gets enrollment.

Other than test centres at universities, different colleges will also be used as test centres this year. The UGC recommended the eight other universities beyond the cluster system taking entrance tests, publishing results, and announcing the admission dates quickly.

The UGC also advised the public universities to reduce the entry test fee and the seats of some departments. Earlier, Prothom Alo reported students of 20 universities including science and technology universities facing financial losses due to faulty process. And, the universities concerned issued advertisement repeatedly to fill the vacant seats.

All universities conducted admission test separately in the past. Students travelled to one corner to another of the country, thus, students, and their guardians incurred financial damages. Demand for cluster system in admission tests aroused to solve this hassle and at one stage, the UGC decide to hold admission test under cluster method. But problems arose after universities and disciplines were not distributed centrally. However, medical colleges (public and private) follow a central list for enrolment and 20 science and technology universities also following this method.

We think this policy must be followed to achieve the purpose of the cluster system in admission tests. If the students are to go around choosing disciplines and universities, the purpose of the cluster admission test will be undermined. Students, their guardians and universities will also be affected. Previously, many seats were vacant at several universities due to lack of students and such situation is unwarranted.

Another thing is that higher education faces session jam because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is necessary to conduct the admission tests, be it cluster or other method, as soon as possible so that session jam does not linger anymore. Students would complete the admission formalities as quick as the test would be held. The UGC’s recommendation on reducing vacant seats at several universities will have to be taken into consideration. Universities should pay more attention to improving the quality of education instead of raising the number of students.