The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution urging the Centre to withdraw the proposal to conduct a Common University Entrance Test (CUET), saying like NEET, it would side line school education, undermine overall development oriented learning in schools, lead to stress among students and mushrooming of coaching centres.

Barring the BJP which opposed the resolution piloted by Chief Minister M K Stalin and staged a walk-out, it was supported by all the allies of the ruling DMK including the Congress and Left parties. The principal opposition AIADMK, too supported the move and asked the state government to take steps to halt the test, saying it be 'nipped in the bud.'

‘No equal opportunity’

The resolution, referring to an announcement in respect of CUET to be held by the National Testing Agency quoted it as saying that admissions to central varsities would be on the basis of national test score not taking into account the marks secured by students in the class 12 exams. The test score may also be 'followed' by state, private and deemed varsities if they opt so.

"The Assembly feels that any entrance examination that is based on National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) syllabus will not provide an equal opportunity to all students who have studied in varied state board syllabi across the country."

In most States, State board syllabus constitutes more than 80 per cent of the total student population and these students invariably hail from marginalised sections. Hence an NCERT syllabus based entrance exam would place this deserving majority in a disadvantegeous position in securing admission in central universities.

"The Assembly feels that in Tamil Nadu's context, this is likely to drastically reduce the number of students from our state in various central universities and their affiliated colleges." There is no doubt that CUET, like NEET would side-line the diverse school education systems across the country and grossly undermine the relevance of overall development oriented long-form learning in schools and make students rely on coaching centres for improving their entrance exam score.

"The people of Tamil Nadu feel that it will only favour further mushrooming of coaching centres. It is also felt that enforcing such an entrance examination along with regular schooling will lead to mental stress among student community. In order to exercise the rights of State Governments this Assembly emphasises the Union Government to withdraw the proposal of conducting of Common University Entrance Test (CUET)," it said.

Stalin, moving the resolution said the Central government's attack on the state's right on education continued and an announcement in connection with the test said the CUET score could also be taken into account by state, private and deemed varsities. He sought unanimous adoption of the resolution. This is to see that the future of Tamil Nadu students was not affected.

PMK and AIADMK's support

After the CM moved the resolution, MLAs belonging to DMK's alliance parties, the PMK and AIADMK's KP Anbalagan, who is a former Higher Education Minister spoke supporting the resolution. The BJP's Nainar Nagendran opposed the resolution and sought its re-consideration and later led his party MLAs in staging a walkout.

When Nagendran pointed out that using the CUET score was only optional for other varsities, Minister for Higher Education K Ponmudy intervened saying the NEET (National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test) too had a similar start. The BJP MLA also said there was no opposition in Kerala to the CUET which too has a Central varsity at Kasargode.

The Chief Minister said barring the BJP all the other parties have welcomed the government's move, and it has given encouragement to the resolution. Stalin said the resolution reflected the sentiments of the Tamil Nadu people. On behalf of the 8.5 crore Tamil Nadu people, Stalin said he urged the Centre to rescind the proposed exam. Later the resolution was adopted through a voice vote and Speaker M Appavu announced it was adopted unanimously.