Students from smaller towns often had to move to cities to prepare for entrance examination to enroll in higher education courses and for most students, the only options were the private coaching institutes, which charged a hefty fee – and many a times, these coaching institutes are beyond the reach students who comes from middle class families.
The government seems to have taken notice of this. It has launched Test Practice Centres (TPCs), which can resolve the problem to a certain extent. There will be 3400 such TPCs all across the 622 districts and 33 Union Territories in the country.
Set up with the help of the National Testing Agency (NTA) — a premier testing organisation that conducts entrance tests for higher educational institutions — these TPCs are aimed at preparing students appearing for entrance examinations for higher education, by providing practice sessions. The sessions will familiarise them with the changed mode and pattern of examination.
Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of HRD said that the Government is committed to providing quality education to all, and therefore, the TPCs have been launched keeping in mind students who do not have computers and smart phones. The idea is to ensure that no student should lose out due to lack of resources. The students, especially those belonging to the rural areas will get an opportunity to practice the computer-based (CBT) test before the exam. The TPCs will provide mock tests to the candidates of JEE (Main) and UGC-NET examinations.
He informed that the Government has changed the pattern of JEE (Mains) and UGC NET Examination 2018 onwards. Now, the exams have become computer based instead of the pen and paper mode. This system has brought in more transparency, making the exam more scientific, student friendly, fast, and above all, leak proof.
The NTA has been authorised to conduct JEE (Main), NEET (UG),UGC-NET, CMAT and GPAT examinations.
To offer sufficient practice for the altered system and pattern, the NTA has also launched an application that helps students practise on their own on their computers or on smartphones. This, according to the Minister, truly augurs a new era in the field of competitive examinations.
For setting up these TPCs, the NTA has engaged a large number of schools and colleges, which have 30 or more Internet-connected PCs/laptops at one location. Depending on the demand, the TPCs function for one shift (2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.) on all Saturdays and two shifts (11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.; 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 PM) on Sundays. As on date, more than 3400 TPCs have been set up including in 689 Kendriya Vidyalayas and 403 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas.
Students are free to use the facilities at the TPC free of charge. They can register across the country online through the NTA website or by using the ‘NTA Student App’ available on Play Store. They can choose the TPCs closest to their location. The allotment of TPC is communicated with the students via SMS a day before the practice date.