National Testing Agency Current Affairs - 2019
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Government has appointed former chairman of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Vineet Joshi, as the first Director-General (DG) of the National Testing Agency (NTA). He will have tenure of five years.
He is 1992-batch IAS officer of the Manipur cadre. Prior to this appointment, he was resident commissioner of Manipur government. During his stint as CBSE chairman, he had introduced big changes such as Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) and making Class X board examination optional.
National Testing Agency (NTA)
NTA was approved by the Union cabinet in November 2017. It is autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions in India. It is registered as society under Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860.
Composition: NTA will be chaired by eminent educationist appointed by Ministry of Human Resource Development. Its CEO will be Director General (DG) appointed by Government. Besides, it has Board of Governors comprising members from user institutions.
Mandate: Conduct entrance tests entrusted to it by any department or ministry. Bring high reliability and standardised difficulty level for assessing aptitude, intelligence and problem-solving abilities of the students. It will relieve CBSE, AICTE and other bodies of responsibility of conducting entrance examinations.
Operations: It will take over majority of the examinations conducted by CBSE from 2019 in phased manner. It will start its operations with Joint Engineering Entrance (JEE) and National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET UG) for admissions to medical and dental programmes from 2019.
The Union Cabinet approved creation of National Testing Agency (NTA) as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions. It will be society registered under Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860.
Features of NTA
The NTA will initially conduct entrance examinations currently being conducted by CBSE. Other examinations will be taken up gradually after NTA is fully geared up. These examinations will be conducted in online mode at least twice a year to give adequate opportunity to candidates to bring out their best. In order to serve requirements of the rural students, it will locate centres at sub-district and district level and as far as possible it will undertake hands-on training to the students.
NTA will be chaired by an eminent educationist appointed by Ministry of Human Resource Development. The CEO will be Director General (DG) appointed by Government. Besides, there will be Board of Governors comprising members from user institutions. The DG will be assisted by 9 verticals headed by academicians and experts.
NTA will be given one-time grant of Rs.25 crore from Union Government to start its operation in first year. Thereafter, it will be financially self-sustainable. It will be subjected to Comptroller and Auditor General (GAG) audit.
NTA will benefit about 4 million students appearing in various entrance examinations. It will relieve AICTE, CBSE, and other agencies from responsibility of conducting these entrance examinations. It will bring in high reliability, standardized difficulty level for assessing intelligence, aptitude and problem solving abilities of students.
Finance Minister in his Budget speech of 2017-18 had announced setting up of NTA as autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct all entrance examinations for higher educational institutions in view to have specialized body in India like most advanced countries.