10 lakh apply for CUET; BHU, DU, Allahabad univ big draws

Over 10 lakh candidates have registered to take the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) for undergraduate courses, the application window for which closed on Sunday, with Delhi University, BHU and Allahabad University emerging as the top draws.

With each candidate allowed to take up to nine papers, 46 lakh applications have been made so far, with students from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan accounting  for a bulk of the registrations.

As many as 44 central universities, 12 state universities, 11 deemed universities and 19 private universities will take in undergraduate students through CUET in the 2022-23 academic sessions. The dates for the test have not yet been announced.

Among Central universities, DU leads the chart with over 6 lakh applications, followed by Banaras Hindu University (BHU) with 3.94 applications and Allahabad University with 2.31 lakh applications. Lucknow-based Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University trails closely behind with 1.49 lakh applications.

Jamia Millia Islamia University, which had initially expressed reservations over adopting CUET, has also attracted 1.21 lakh applications. The institution is carrying out admissions to 10 of its undergraduate programmes through the common entrance. The government had initially told Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University that admissions to all UG courses need to be carried out through CUET, but later allowed the institutions to use it for selected programmes only.

Jawaharlal Nehru University, which is more popular for its postgraduate degree courses and advanced research, has received 57,000 applications. And in line with the trend seen during the initial days after the application window was opened on April 6, at 3.3 lakh, the maximum number of registrations have come from Uttar Pradesh.

UP is followed by Delhi (1.5 lakh registrations), Bihar (83,672), Haryana (69,349), Madhya Pradesh (62,394), Rajasthan (48,016). Among the southern states, Kerala accounts for 40,476 applications, followed by Tamil Nadu with 16,590 applications.

Last month, the Tamil Nadu Assembly had adopted a resolution against CUET, prompting Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to write to the state government, saying there is “no case for infringing upon the rights of the states and Union Territories” through the test.

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A new platform

CUET, proposed in the NEP 2020, provides a single platform for students to pick multiple courses and universities. The test scores will be used by many universities for UG admissions.

The numbers also reflect the popularity of DU among students in the Northeast, a region which lacks an adequate number of high quality higher education institutions, forcing students to migrate to other parts of the country.

For instance, there have been 17,613 registrations from Meghalaya, a state with a population of around 26 lakh, as opposed to only 5,739 from Karnataka.

“The geographical spread of the applications will be more even from next year. Actually much depends on the success of this year’s edition of the entrance. Registrations will also increase as the exams will be held twice a year from next year,” an official said.

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The government had on May 19 exempted eight Central Universities in the Northeast and one in Uttarakhand from conducting the CUET, attributing the decision to “operational difficulties”.

Among state universities, the Delhi government-run Ambedkar University has emerged as the most popular, drawing over 1.28 lakh applications, followed by UP’s Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University with 97,376 applications. The Meerut-based IIMT received 1.37 applications, becoming the top draw among private universities.

Last year, around 9.39 lakh candidates had taken the JEE (Mains) for admission to undergraduate engineering programmes, while around 15.4 had taken the medical entrance NEET.

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