Pune: Although the state government has declared to conduct the Common Entrance Test (CET) at the taluka level for the convenience of students, a reality check has revealed that around 90 per cent of the total 358 taluka places do not have adequate infrastructure to conduct this exam. Only 30 to 35 talukas - all located in the Western Maharashtra region - have colleges where computers, internet connectivity and cybersecurity infrastructure is in place.
CET is mandatory for admission to engineering, pharmacy and agriculture degree courses. CET score is also important to get admission to degree and postgraduate professional courses of hotel management, computer applications, law, physical education and pedagogy courses. More than 5 lakh students in the state apply for this exam every year. This year, due to a coronavirus outbreak, the schedule for CET has collapsed. Government has postponed the exam twice.
Considering the social distancing norms, the CET cell and Higher and Technical Education department decided to increase the number of centres where the CET is conducted. Uday Samant, Minister for Higher and Technical Education announced that the exam will be conducted at taluka places. Accordingly, the CET cell started gathering information about digital infrastructure at colleges in various talukas to plan for the exam schedule. All divisional technical education director offices were instructed to share the information. A report was prepared based on this information which revealed that only 10 per cent of the talukas are well equipped with digital infrastructure.
According to sources, the report says that in most of the colleges, computers are available but they are not with advanced configurations. Internet connectivity and cybersecurity measures are also not good. Only 30 to 35 talukas have colleges where they have good computers and labs and these are mostly located in the Western Maharashtra belt. The colleges in Marathwada and Vidarbha region are not well equipped digitally. This has made it clear that this year CET will be conducted at the district level only.