The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) headquartered in Mumbai has changed its admissions procedure. Instead of its own National Entrance Test (NET), popularly known as TISSNET; this renowned institute of social science will now admit students through the Central University Entrance Test – Postgraduate (CUET-PG). The changes will be applicable to the admissions for the 2024-25 academic year.
The decision, however, has met with criticism from aspiring candidates as well as the existing students of TISS, which sees admission applications from all over India. According to students, the two exams are vastly different in their nature and format; making it difficult to adapt to the change at a crucial point when only a few months are left for the test.
Here is all you have to know about the changes in admission procedure at TISS, how it impacts students and reasons for opposition to the changes.
1. What are the changes in TISS admission?
The institute has announced that from the upcoming academic year admission to all its PG courses, except two– MA in Human Resource Management and Labour Relations (HRM) and MA in Organisation Development, Change and Leadership (ODCL), will be through CUET-PG. The score of the Common Admission Test (CAT) will be considered for admission to the other two courses.
Until now all admissions in TISS was through TISSNET, its own entrance examination; which is generally held around January or February.
2. Why have these changes been introduced?
According to a TISS notification dated November 14, the changes are in compliance with the mandate by the Ministry of Education and University Grants Commission (UGC) to conduct the CUET for admission to Post Graduate (PG) programmes in Central, State and other participating universities, institutions, organisations and autonomous colleges.
“The CUET-PG provides a single window opportunity for all post-graduate students seeking admission to any of the Central Universities or other participating organisations, including state universities, deemed-to-be universities and private universities across the country,” it stated. The admission to HRM and ODCL will be held through CAT, while a generally accepted entrance test will be conducted for MBA and other management course admissions.
3. Why are students opposing the changes?
Foremost of the concerns raised by aspiring students is the admission to HRM and ODCL which are flagship courses offered at TISS. “The registration deadline for CAT is already over in September. The exam will be held in a few days. It is unfair that TISS has declared this change at this time. A lot of us, depending on the TISSNET, did not apply for CAT. And now we are told that TISSNET is scrapped when there is no time to apply for CAT now,” said an aspirant adding that “we are not opposing the changes, but the time when the announcements are made”.
The students say if the notification was issued well in advance they could have prepared accordingly. “Considering the delay in announcement, the changes should not be applicable for the upcoming academic year,” added the student.
Moreover, aspirants have also pointed out the differences between TISSNET and CUET-PG.
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“We all have been preparing for TISSNET, which is more like an aptitude test. The domain-specific assessment for an aspirant is later conducted during the personal interview round, after clearing TISSNET. Candidates from various backgrounds could appear for TISSNET, with this flexibility. As opposed to it, CUET-PG tests candidates on graduate-level domain-specific knowledge and has negative marking. This puts a lot of candidates at a disadvantage when now there is only a few months left for preparation, considering that CUET-PG is likely to be held in March/April this year,” said an aspirant.
Opposition to changes has also come from the existing TISSians. The Progressive Students’ Forum (PSF), TISS, has condemned the move which it believes would destroy the very character of the institute. “TISS is a social sciences university with an interdisciplinary approach that is open to students from all walks of life, unlike numerous other institutes in India. The adoption of CUET will result in a backtracking of the vision with which TISS was established. It is an indication by the administration that moving forward, TISS will only allow those privileged students who can afford lakhs of rupees in coaching fees for CUET to gain admission,” said PSF, in their statement.
4. What does the institute administration say?
The TISS administration has justified its stand and has also announced an alteration to include CUET-PG score for admission to HRM and ODCL. Confident that students will not miss out on any opportunity, Professor Manoj Tiwari, in-charge director of the TISS, told The Indian Express, “It is a very common practice that most students aspiring for PG courses in management do appear for CAT. However, considering the situation, we have decided that admission to HRM and ODCL too will be possibly based on CUET-PG score. There are components in the CUET PG catering to the management courses. With higher weightage to these components, admission to HRM and ODCL can be done based on CUET-PG score.” While the administration has offered an alternative, considering that the deadline for registration of CAT has passed, it believes that the prospective students have adequate time to register and appear for the CUET-PG.