Like the NEXT (National Exit Test) proposal for medical students, now, engineering students might also have to face an employability test before they graduate from the college. The Centre is planning to enforce the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) to test students on their technical strengths to confirm if they possess the required skills to be job and industry ready.
In order to discuss about this proposal by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry for holding such a test the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is likely to hold a meeting this week.
"The council will have to take the final call on its implementation," official sources said. But the catch here is that, the exam might not be a mandatory one for graduation. "It will be up to the students to decide whether they should take the test," the sources said.
However, the proposal has been submitted for a mandatory test for all engineering colleges, including those in private ownership, to participate in the nationwide test.
"Continuation of the AICTE approval to the engineering programmes of the institution will depend on their response to the proposed test. It will be their responsibility to encourage their students to take the test," sources said.
When the move is finally decided, a draft will be prepared by the the AICTE for regulation to hold the proposed test across the country, and disciplinary action will be taken against institutions that do not adhere to the mandated law.
According to an AICTE official, the GATE exam that would be revamped if made compulsory, would not be a big deal for engineering students as many people already attend it for their higher studies. "About 80% to 90% of engineering students take GATE every year as it is mandatory for admissions to MTech. Many public sector undertakings hire engineering students on the basis of their GATE scores," he said.
These scores will be shared with employers in all sectors. "The proposed test will also help improve the quality of the technical institutes," an official said. Depending on the performance of their students, the institutes would be encouraged to take measures to improve their standards.
For admissions into degrees such as M Tech and ME, The GATE is usually organised by Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru. This exam scores are valid country wide.