Entrance exams: How relevant?



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After finishing her Bachelor’s in English and Sociology, Anu Dahal, 20, will soon be sitting for an entrance examination to get admission to one of the colleges affiliated to Tribhuvan University  for her Master’s in English. However, the fact that the entrance exams in many colleges are conducted just as a formality and not taken seriously disheartens her.


“Entrance exam itself isn’t a bad thing. But the way the exams are conducted isn’t very appropriate. Some students may be able to express themselves properly by writing, while some by speaking. Therefore, just a single written exam can’t determine their capacity. So if all the colleges consider providing another chance to students, like conducting interviews, the examination will be fair,” she opines. 


She further adds that entrance exams are important mainly because that is the only way a student can be judged in terms of his/her capabilities. Also, through such examinations, the students get to realize about their own strengths and weaknesses in terms of academics, and can work harder when they start attending their classes. And she thinks that students join a particular college to learn, so judging them before even getting enrolled is not a good idea. Thus, the questions asked in the entrance exams should be basic ones. And the exams should focus on testing the interest level of the students for studying the particular subject, not their knowledge that they already have regarding the same.


However, Binod Khanal, 31, who is a Master’s level student of Sociology at Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus  on Exhibition Road, and also the Secretary of Free Students’ Union at the college, feels that entrance examinations don’t have much importance. He shares, “If a student has passed Bachelor’s, it’s obvious that s/he’s capable enough for a Master’s-level studies. Yet another exam for further studies will only add anxiety in the students.” 

And many people even argue that more time and money is wasted for preparation of the entrance exams even if a student is eligible to study a particular subject s/he aspires to. It is believed that the desperation of students to get admission to a particular college has become the source of income for private tutors and institutions offering entrance preparation courses. Even for admission to primary schools, tuitions and preparation courses are provided at many institutes.


However, there are students who agree to the fact that in a situation when there is so much competition for getting admitted to good colleges, the entrance preparation courses and tutorial classes are beneficial for students.


Bhavya Poudyal, 20, a second-year medical student at Kathmandu Medical College  at Duwakot, recalls that joining NAME Institute for an entrance preparation course was helpful to her. “If I hadn’t joined the classes, I wouldn’t have been able to manage time to study all the chapters. The required resources of study were made available to the students, which made studying easier. And I felt more confident to appear at the entrance examination after joining the classes,” she reminisces.


Speaking for the significance of entrance examinations and its hardcore preparation, Prabha Bhattarai, Professor at Padma Kanya Multiple Campus , Bag Bazaar, observes, “To get enrolled in a TU affiliated college for studying technical subjects like Science and Engineering, among others, students have to sit for an entrance exam. However, in other streams like Humanities and Management, the admission is usually done on the basis of the applicant’s past academic results.” 

And she opines that students’ academic results of the past, however, may not always be accurate. The students may have scored higher by any means – cheating or rote learning, she observes. “And there’s a lot of competition for admissions these days. So if students are given admission on the basis of their past results and not tested, those who really deserve to study a particular subject may not get the chance due to their mark sheets showing lower marks than other applicants. In such cases, entrance exams play a major role in helping to choose the interested and deserving students,” she says.


Prof Dr Suresh Raj Sharma, former Vice Chancellor of Kathmandu University , also considers entrance exams very important. Like Bhattarai, he also shares that it is very important for students to go through an entrance exam because that way, the universities can choose the best ones among the applicants who are really capable of and interested in studying the particular subject.” 

“We, as a university, have responsibility to provide education to all students but there are limited seats. Due to this, there’s no other option than to conduct entrance examinations. And it’s also our responsibility to make sure that the exams are held for fair competitions,” concludes Prof Bhattarai.


Source: Republica National daily