National Testing Agency

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister has given approval for the setting up of National Testing Agency (NTA) for conducting entrance examinations for higher educational institutions. The need for such a specialised agency is due to the fact that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is already overburdened with the responsibility of conducting various exams like the National Eligibilty-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

Similar to the specialised bodies functioning in the most advanced countries, the need for such specialized agency was felt in India. So, in the Budget speech of 2017-18, the Finance Minister had announced setting up of a National Testing Agency (NTA).

Salient features of NTA

Set-Up
  • The NTA would be set up as a Society registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • NTA would be set up as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization.
Function
  • Initially, the NTA would conduct those entrance examinations which are currently conducted by CBSE. Later on, the NTA will take up the responsibility of conducting other exams gradually.
  • NTA will relieve other agencies like CBSE, AICTE from the responsibility of conducting various entrance examinations. CBSE will be relieved of conducting entrance tests like Joint Engineering Entrance (JEE), NEET, UGC’s National Eligibility Test, Central Teacher Eligibility Test and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas entrance tests.
  • NTA will conduct the entrance examinations in online mode at least twice a year so that the students are given adequate opportunity to bring out their best.
Constitution
  • The chairperson of NTA would be an eminent educationist appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
  • The CEO would be appointed by the government. The CEO would be the Director General of the agency.
  • The Director General would be assisted by nine verticals headed by academicians and experts.
  • Board members would be appointed from among the members of user institutions.
Finances
  • The union government will offer a one-time grant of Rs 25 crore for commencing the operations of NTA. Thereafter, the NTA is expected to be financially self-sustainable.
How the NTA is expected to transform the quality of education in India?

The NTA is expected to usher in high reliability and enhance the intelligence and problem solving capabilities of students. It will also help in standardizing difficulty level for assessing the aptitude level of the students. Secondly, the NTA is expected to benefit about 40 lakh students appearing in various entrance examinations. In order to cater to the needs of the rural students, the NTA would locate the test centres at sub-district/district level and would impart hands-on training to these students.

Suggested Questions

Discuss the salient features of proposed National Testing Agency (NTA). Evaluate its potential to transform the quality of education in India.

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