The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of the National Testing Agency (NTA).
WHAT IS NTA
— an independent body dedicated to conducting entrance tests for higher education, on the lines of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in the United States
— will conduct entrance tests entrusted to it by any department or ministry
— As a first step, it will take over all entrance examinations being organised by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), including UGC’s National Eligibility Test (NET), Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) and NEET.
— Sources said the Human Resource Development Ministry is aiming to set up NTA in the next eight months, either in IIT Kanpur or IIT Delhi. Currently, more than 40 lakh students appear for seven entrance tests — CAT, JEE (Main), JEE (Advanced), GATE, CMAT, NEET, NET — held by the CBSE, IITs, IIMs and AICTE every year.
— The entrance examinations will be conducted in online mode at least twice a year, thereby giving adequate opportunity to candidates to bring out their best
— NTA will be established as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 as an independent, autonomous, self-reliant and self-sustained premier testing organization, with flexibility to pay market salaries to the experts.
THE BUDGET & STRUCTURE
The ministry expects that the examination fee paid by 40 lakh students should make NTA fully self-reliant and financially independent to meet all administrative and operational expenses. This body will be subjected to a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audit. Initially, the government will provide a one-time grant of Rs 25 crore for NTA to start operation. It will have a board of governors and a director general, who will be an eminent educationist.
Although NTA has been envisioned as the country’s largest exam conducting body, it remains to be seen if the IIMs and IITs will be willing to hand over CAT and JEE (Advanced), respectively, to this body.