Following the examples of international examination conducting agencies such as ETS, the Government of India has announced the introduction of the National Testing Agency (NTA) in the budget 2017. Apart from conducting major national level exams like JEE and NEET, NTA will also aim to provide these tests multiple times every year.
Multiple windows for these exams are being planned to enhance the ease of access for the students. Although multiple exam windows require detailed planning, high-end technology and proper execution, it is NTA’s premier agenda for computer-based tests. Check out some of the facts regarding NTA’s plan below.
The need for multiple exam windows:
- With a large group of students applying for competitive exams every year, it is important to come up with a robust online testing system for the convenience of the students.
- With a varied demography, Indian students need low internet bandwidth and infrastructure so that they can appear for the entrance exams at different times in a year.
- This also allows students with alternative opportunities in case he/she has not been able to appear for the exam or not performed well due to some illness.
- Having multiple dates for a single exam will save the time of the student and they won’t have to wait for another year to give an exam.
Challenges faced by NTA:
- State-of-the-art technical and physical infrastructure is requited to conduct multiple windows of important national entrance exams that are not easily available in India.
- As the test data and exam papers are saved in a single digital repository for the multiple test window, they are subjected to a major hacking risk.
- Cheating, impersonation and corruption are other hurdles that NTA will have to overcome in order to successfully provide multiple exam windows.
- Exams being an ongoing process, this exam system will require constant testing to eradicate technical issues and implementing improvement measures.
- Conducting multiple windows for exams like JEE and NEET will be difficult in tier 2 and tier 3 cities as these cities don’t have the required technological infrastructure or the level of education where students can adapt to computer-based tests.
Solutions for Issues faced by NTA:
- Implementing a biometric system can be very advantageous for the entire system as it will make verification simpler by maintaining databases and nullifying the chances of impersonation.
- Digital technology should be implemented for the distribution of question papers to restrict paper leak.
- Cheating and malpractices can be stopped by using highly protected Virtual Private Networks.
- CCTV recording of the exam hall, electronic database verification and digital image verification can help eliminate illegal activities.
The idea of establishing a National Testing Agency can be a boon for both students and colleges if implemented with caution. Currently, colleges and bodies like CBSE, NBE and AICTE are responsible for conducting national level entrance exams. This overburdens these organizations, hindering their basic responsibilities.
NTA will be solely responsible for conducting entrance exams for students at both UG and PG levels. Implementation of NTA can reduce the workload of these bodies immensely and will help them in functioning.