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City boys rule IIT test

- Access to better private coaching helps urban students

New Delhi, Nov. 24: An official report has confirmed the conventional wisdom that students from the urban middle and upper-middle classes dominate the IIT entrance exam, possibly because they can afford private coaching.

The IIT-JEE 2012 Report gives break-ups of the socio-economic conditions, rural/urban backgrounds, school boards and genders of the 24,112 “successful” students who made the merit list from the 506,484 who took the test. (See chart)

No separate data were, however, available exclusively about the 9,500-odd candidates who actually got admitted to the 15 IITs. (A few hundred secured seats at the Institute of Technology at Banaras Hindu University and the Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad, too.)

The report, prepared by those in charge of the exam, shows that almost two in three successful candidates came from 11 big cities. One in nine were from villages and about one in four from small towns.

A comparison of the successful candidates with the rest shows that the sons and daughters of doctors and engineers performed slightly better than other students.

One reason that urban candidates from relatively better-off families do better, it seems, is the access they have to private coaching.

“These students are able to afford coaching or some extra help while students from small towns and villages do not have much access to such help,” IIT Faculty Federation president K. Narasimhan said.

“Private coaching has a strong impact on student performance by stressing practice so that a student can do better in the test.”

The report says that about 20 per cent of all candidates had received private coaching but the figure for successful candidates is nearly 47 per cent.

It adds that about 85 per cent of all candidates preferred to take the test in English while the rest preferred Hindi. However, more than 94 per cent of the successful candidates had taken the test in English.

The chairman of IIT-JEE 2012, G.B. Reddy, told The Telegraph the report had been prepared on the basis of information provided by the students in their application forms.

“We prepare a report on IIT-JEE every year but this year, we have done a rigorous study to get some idea about the candidates’ socio-economic conditions and rural or urban backgrounds,” Reddy said.

He said a single year’s data would not be sufficient to detect any trends. “We can establish a trend after three or four years. Then the IITs may plan to effect any required change.”