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NIC’s e-counselling services benefit 89 lakh candidates for eligibility test in edu institutions

NIC collaborates with over 35 examination and counselling agencies like National Testing Agency; CBSE; Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University,Lucknow; Odisha Joint Entrance Examination; GGS Indraprastha University, New Delhi; among others for exams like JEE (Main/Advanced), UGC/CSIR-NET, CTET, NEET, CMAT, GPAT, IIFT

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Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MeitY) technical arm, National Informatics Centre (NIC) has been spearheading counselling and admission services, which are considered data sensitive, time bound and policy driven, across the country.

A battery of senior scientists of the NIC have got tremendous success in devising a project like e-counselling services, which is a one-stop online solution for all examinations, results publication, counselling and admission needs, capturing the entire lifecycle for admissions on a single platform to provide a streamlined stepwise process for application filing.

The project has benefitted millions of students across the country who used to face difficulties in participating in the different counselling processes largely, because of offline application processes.

Counselling services are provided to national/state education boards for admission to over 3,000 academic institutions such as IITs, NITs, medical colleges and Central/state funded universities/institutions in various disciplines like engineering, medical, architecture, pharmacy, agriculture, management, catering to over 89 lakh candidates from 8th/10th pass to post graduate level.

The automated system has simplified the selection process facilitating admissions as per merit and the candidate’s preferences. NIC has made efforts in maintaining transparency and standardisation of IT systems operating in the Indian education sector. The Centre is also working with the governing bodies to incorporate latest technologies to overcome challenges and adapt as per evolving expectations.

Notably, NIC has collaborated with over 35 examination and counselling agencies like National Testing Agency, CBSE, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow; Odisha Joint Entrance Examination; West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations Board; GGS Indraprastha University, New Delhi; among many others in facilitating central and state level examinations such as JEE (Main/Advanced), UGC/CSIR-NET, CTET, NEET, CMAT, GPAT, IIFT.

In an interaction with Express Computer, Deputy Director General, NIC, Rajender Sethi says, “There are wide variations in the eligibility criteria, process and seat allotment for different national/state level counselling. The e-counselling services have been designed as a service suite with provisions of configurability and extensibility to provide a customised solution for client support. At NIC, we ensure that counselling projects are executed with zero error as the entire process has been composed into a chain of events having direct implication on a student’s career prospect. Deep understanding of counselling process acquired over two decades of experience and holistic approach to problem solving has helped us gain a level of trust for being the best-in-class solution for counselling and admission services.”

The services include application form filling, multimode online fee payment, e-Admit card, answer key and recorded response challenge, e-Score card, institute/course choice filling, mock counselling, seat allocation, document verification, admission, seat withdrawal and MIS and exception reports. Audit trail is maintained to capture and store changes made by users in application ecosystem. Candidates getupdates via SMS and e-mails because of digital interventions of the NIC.

Counselling and admission services have transformed manifolds since its inception from manual processing along with offline mode of payment. Earlier, the entire process required significant time efforts and manpower requirement for postal work, application scrutiny and document submission. In order to conduct a holistic review of applications, stringent regulatory checks and exception handling algorithms have been introduced to conduct multiple counselling simultaneously. Round the clock available services have overcome the geographical boundaries by replacing multiple instances of physical reporting. Candidates from remote and rural parts of the country, non-resident Indians and foreign nationals can also participate in the admission process without any travelling woes. It eliminates inconveniences caused by ailments and exigencies and provides deserving candidates ease of application and participation that was earlier not possible a few years ago.

Admission services have been re-engineered to create a common admission process bringing together multiple institutions to assess candidates based on rank(s) with diverse eligibility criteria.

According to NIC, digital exchange of information is supported at all instances and requirement for institutions to print and store forms have been removed due to online web forms.The services have enabled board/university officials to conduct bulk processing of application forms with maximised transparency, efficiency, credibility and minimised cost, time and human involvement. Digital enablement of admission process has led to enhanced transparency in the system by achieving 100 per cent compliance with policy guidelines and allotment of seats as per merit and course priority, informs an official.

Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and data analytics need to be incorporated to provide greater insights to candidates for course and institute selection. Centrally managed directories can act as a single source of truth for authentic and reliable data leading to integration of multiple standards with multilingual support. Data analytics on the information obtained over the years can be used to identify the trends in preference choices of candidates and provide recommendation to various concerned organisations. Digital counsellor can be developed and rolled out to users in the form of a mobile application to provide effective guidance during counselling phase.Digital counsellor would run on learning algorithms executing test runs on existing database and identifying patterns between test data and target attributes.

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