POST TIME: 27 February, 2020 10:09:24 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 27 February, 2020 04:04:47 PM
Tests now in clusters
UGC backtracks from central entry test
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Tests now in clusters

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has backtracked from its previous position of subsuming the admission tests of the country’s public universities within the Central Admission Test (CAT). The commission has now said that the admission test would be held in four clusters, combining the universities in similar groups, much like the seven agriculture universities that held their recent admission test under the cluster system last year. The science and technology universities would be grouped together, with the engineering universities forming another group. The agriculture universities and the general universities would be the two other groups of the cluster system. 

Under the system, there would be six admission exams for the four clusters. The admission seekers would select which test they wished to appear for when seeking admission for the academic session of 2020–21. UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahiddullah made the announcement at his office in the capital after holding a meeting with the vice-chancellors of public universities. However, the cluster system of the admission test would be applied to 41 universities out of 46.

The remaining five universities—Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Rajshahi University, and Chittagong University—declined to join the others. All the five universities were set up under the 1973 Ordinance.

After holding meetings with their respective academic councils, these five universities said they would continue to hold admission exams as per their previous system. Against this background, the UGC yesterday came up with the fresh decision to hold admission tests under the cluster system, thereby going against the earlier announcement to hold entry tests under the CAT.

Earlier this month, the UGC had decided to hold exams under the CAT by grouping similar subjects of the universities. The commission had said that work on the CAT was underway and a committee would be formed soon in this regard.

Under the CAT system, the UGC wanted to hold exams by grouping science, humanities, and commerce subjects. However, after holding several meetings with like-minded universities, the UGC has decided to hold tests under four clusters based on the category of the universities.

Given this recent background, it was decided at the meeting to hold the test in four clusters. Under the system, three tests would be held in the general universities for the subjects of science, humanities, and commerce, while one test each would be held in the science and technology universities, engineering universities, and agriculture universities.

The UGC chairman said admission seekers would also have the opportunity to switch from one subject to another through the exams. That means a science student will have the option to sit for any subject of the humanities group.

All matters relating to the cluster system of admission will be finalised in the second week of March. The holding of a common admission test was a long-cherished desire of the President, who is also the chancellor of the universities, in a bid to reduce the inconvenience faced by students and guardians. But introducing a common test was not possible due to the reservations of some universities like Dhaka University, BUET, and others. Even now, five prominent universities remain aloof from the cluster system.