The Centre said students from all 3,500 engineering colleges across the country will have to appear for a single entrance examination from 2018 onwards, PTI reported on Friday. The Human Resource Development Ministry directed the All India Council for Technical Education to execute its new order. The ministry asked the council to prioritise conducting the test several times a year and ensuring that it is available in multiple languages.

The statement said the National Entrance Examination for Engineering and Architecture will replace all existing tests, including those held by West Bengal and several other states, for Bachelor of Technology seats in government and private colleges. “Since the proposal is in accordance with the policy of the government to improve standards and quality of engineering education, AICTE is advised to issue suitable regulation,” The Telegraph quoted the ministry’s order as saying. Officials said Indian Institutes of Technology may also be brought under the ambit of the examination.

Officials told the news agency that the new test aims at greater transparency, maintaining high standards and eliminating the inconvenience of taking several tests.

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery applicants have to answer a single National Eligibility-cum -Entrance Test available in 10 languages including Bengali, Odia and Assamese.