Bangladesh Bishwabidyalaya Parishad, an association of public university vice-chancellors, has decided to hold admission tests for the academic year 2020-21.
The decision was made on Saturday during an online meeting of public university vice-chancellors.
Most of them supported holding tests online, but they are yet to make a final decision.
Professor Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Biswabidyalay Parished, told The Business Standard that they would send their recommendations to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Education Ministry.
"We will decide on the upcoming university admission tests after getting the nod from the UGC and Ministry."
The admission tests of all the engineering, agricultural and general universities will be held, centrally, in three phases.
However, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, Rajshahi University and Chittagong University will hold admission tests separately, Professor Rafiqul, also vice-chancellor of Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, said.
Vice-Chancellor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Professor Dr Farid Uddin Ahmed, told The Business Standard that students would not be enrolled without admission tests.
"However, we did not discuss whether the students' SSC and HSC exam results would be given any or less weight in the admissions process. We talked about holding theoretical exams at public universities," he said.
There are now 60,000 seats in 39 public universities across the country. But for the first time ever, the country will see a 100% pass rate in HSC, without any exams.
Since all 13 lakh HSC examinees will pass, this will make all admission seekers eligible to sit for university entrance tests.
"We cannot arrange in-person exams for so many students amidst the looming risk of the second wave of the Covid-19 this winter," Farid Uddin said.
Vice-Chancellor of Jagannath University, Professor Dr Mijanur Rahman said, "Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, Professor Munaz Ahmed Noor presented a paper on holding admission tests using digital devices."
"We are convinced about the merits of taking admission tests online after learning about the idea and will apply it to our departmental exams first. If this works, we will consider the system for the university admission tests."
Universities hold tests from the second week of September until the end of November for enrolling students every year.
Since this year's HSC exam results will be published in December, there is no chance of the university admission tests taking place before December.
This is because universities need at least one to two months to arrange the admission tests.