City Faculty Divided Over Its Advantages

More than a week after the Centre mandated that medical students across the country will have to pass the National Exit Test (NEXT) to get the `doctor' tag, engineering students may too have to take a similar test after completing their course. The proposed move has the engineering faculty in the city divided over its advantages to students.

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Technical Education (AICTE), in its meeting this week, is expected to discuss the viability of introducing an exit examination that could help better the quality of engineering education provided across the country . “This has been proposed by some academicians for understanding quality levels of different universities and check on the same level-playing field for comparison of scores,“ said a senior AICTE official. “We will discuss this in the forthcoming meeting. We will also call for views and opinions from different stakeholders from the sector. The modalities haven't been looked at yet.“

The move, feel experts, could help students in the long run. “The idea is good, though it will need a lot of deliberation. In the long term, it will better the quality of students as they will have to continuous ly update themselves. The exit examination could also be very comprehensive and help test students better,“ said Suresh Ukarande, in-charge faculty coordinator for engineering at Mumbai University . He added that the AICTE should consult all stakeholders, including teachers, institutes and students, to ensure that the exam is properly framed and works in everyone's advantage.

However, some feel an additional exam is not necessary. “When students undergo four years of rigorous learning during the engineering course, they are able and ready for the industry. The recruitment process at all corporate is intense and not just based on marks,“ said Vilas Shinde, principal, New Horizon Institute of Technology and Management, Thane. “In spite of the best education, every industry has its own working modules and hence, provides on-job training for recruits. Hence, an additional test may not be required.“

On December 29, the Union health ministry unveiled the draft Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2016 under which after completing a fiveand-a-half-year course, medical students will have to pass the NEXT before becoming doctors. After the announcement was made, Dr P Shingare, who heads the state's department of medical education and research, had said that NEXT is a good move. “How can we equate a student from X university with one from Y University? NEXT will bring about standardization,“ he had said.