Minimise outsourcing by NTA, do not brand us 'mafia': Coaching Federation of India to Centre

Minimise outsourcing by NTA, do not brand us 'mafia': Coaching Federation of India to Centre

New Delhi | Minimising the outsourcing of exam-related tasks by the NTA, setting up an education task force and a helpline to report irregularities and conducting competitive exams at least twice a year and only after board exams are among several suggestions made to the Centre by the Coaching Federation of India.

The suggestions by the CFI, an umbrella body of coaching institutions across the country, came amid a raging row over alleged irregularities, including paper leaks, in exams.

The federation, in its list of suggestions to prevent paper leaks, also expressed its displeasure at branding the coaching industry as "mafia for any wrong done by a few". It also criticised the educational institutions using paper leaks for publicity and encash student sentiments and play politics.

"There should be no politics over the issue and students are already stressed with the uncertainty over the NEET exam and we need to understand their mental state and for any gain, students should not be used. The matter about whether NEET should be reconducted is subjudice and whatever the Supreme Court decides, all should abide and the decision is not going to be an easy one...," the CFI said.

Expressing displeasure over the coaching industry being referred to as the "mafia", Pramod Maheshwari, MD of Career Point, Kota, said the need for coaching is not by compulsion but by choice and the coaching industry has helped in producing many quality engineers, doctors, lawyers and judges.

"We request the government to recognise us and allot land for coaching parks so that students can choose any centre they want and get access to the best facilities and we can have many more educational hubs like Kota in India. We also request to be treated with respect and as a part of the ecosystem," he told reporters.

The CFI proposed a uniform syllabus across the state boards and said the syllabus should be in sync with that of entrance examinations like the Common University Entrance Test (CUET), Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).

The federation has said that exams like JEE Mains should be held in April and May after board exams as students find it difficult to focus on entrance as well as board exams.

"The entrance exam results are declared before their board exams and they find it difficult to focus on board exams and some even take extreme steps due to this pressure. It is also proposed that the boards should be completed by March 10 and the first JEE attempt should be conducted in the first week of April and the second attempt after one month," the CFI said.

Noting that several irregularities that have come to the limelight in the exams this year are due to the outsourcing of exam-related tasks by the National Testing Agency, the federation has suggested the NTA should have its own printing press and transportation facilities and an adequate workforce to handle so many examinations.

"Outside sources like transportation and printing have been found to be behind the paper leak to the paper mafia gang and even the examination centre in-charges. Since NTA has a shortage of manpower, it becomes difficult for NTA to monitor all of these activities and once the manpower is not outsourced and owned, then leaks will be reduced and responsibilities will increase.

"The coordinator and the observer should be from the NTA and not from the school and college or the in-charges can be made from different states and the principal or vice principal can travel so that local touch can be minimised and the possibility of paper leak minimised," it added.

Including some weightage for board exams, conducting exams twice a year and in the format of prelims and mains, restructuring of the NTA and conducting maximum exams in online mode are also among the suggestions made by CFI, which noted that the government has not invited them for any stakeholder consultation.

In the line of fire over the alleged irregularities in medical entrance examination NEET and PhD entrance NET, the Centre last week removed NTA DG Subodh Singh and notified a high-level panel headed by former ISRO chief R Radhakrishnan to ensure a transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations through the NTA.

While NEET is under scanner over several irregularities, including alleged leaks, UGC-NET was cancelled as the ministry received inputs that the integrity of the exam was compromised. Both matters are being probed by the CBI.

Two other exams -- CSIR-UGC NET and NEET PG -- were cancelled as a pre-emptive step.

The committee has sought suggestions and feedback from stakeholders, including students and parents, till July 7 through the MyGov platform.

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