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Plan for university test 'on track'

THE NATIONAL Institute of Educational Testing Service (NIETS) is going ahead with plans to introduce a controversial test for students called the University National Education Test, despite growing opposition.



NIETS chairman Somwang Pitiyanuwat said in an interview on Saturday that the institute had to comply with regulations to evaluate the academic qualifications of students at all levels.

The U-Net will be given to college

seniors starting the new semester.

While taking the exam will be voluntary, employers will be encouraged to require U-Net results in job applications.

U-Net is a pre-graduation test designed to assess proficiency in four core areas, including Thai and English language for communications and the application of information and general technology in everyday life.

The other two are media literacy, or awareness of the media and analytical and problem-solving skills, and critical thinking.

Two more areas will be added in the following semester - morality and ethics.

The test would be expanded to post-graduate and doctorate students in the future.

Students say U-Net will steal time away from regular studies and difficult subjects while duplicating normal curriculum or other knowledge they have already mastered.

They complain that there is a lack of criteria guaranteeing that it would help increase their fluency or improve their skills, even in the first four areas.

A Facebook page dedicated to challenging U-Net has drawn more than 86,000 likes, while an online petition at www.change.org has attracted 40,602 signatures, just about 9,000 short of the 50,000 needed to make it a legitimate protest against a government project.

Kamjorn Tatiyakavee, deputy director-general of the Higher Education Commission, said U-Net would place a greater burden on students who are already busy with routine study.

NIETS should study the mistakes in and criticism of the Ordinary National Educational Test (or O-Net) for high school students and the Vocational National Education Test (University National Education Test)(or V-Net), and improve both of them before |coming up with U-Net, he said.


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