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IIT gap in school boards
- 73 per cent students come from CBSE and Andhra

New Delhi, Oct. 17: Nearly three of every four students shortlisted for the Indian Institutes of Technology this year come from two of the country’s 29 school boards, an analysis of the results has shown.

The results have confirmed a long-standing suspicion: distribution of students who made it to the elite tech schools is not uniform across the two national and 27 state boards.

The analysis has shown that of the nearly 21,000 who cracked the IIT-JEE Advanced, the last of the two-tier test candidates have to clear for entering the IITs, 56 per cent were from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and 17 per cent from the Andhra Pradesh Board of Intermediate Education (APBIE).

Together, they account for 73 per cent of the students who appeared for the test.

Students from the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education made up only a little over 1 per cent of those who qualified .

While nearly 1.27 lakh students appeared for the exam, 20,834 qualified for some 10,000 seats in 16 IITs and ISM Dhanbad.

Bengal board students accounted for 1.09 per cent of the total number of candidates who registered for the test. Among the nearly 21,000 who qualified overall, some 1.13 per cent are from Bengal, which means a success rate marginally higher compared to the state’s share of the total number of candidates who registered.

“The data shows that the success rate of CBSE and Andhra board students is higher. That means they are finding it easier to answer (questions) than students of other boards,” Debasis Sengupta, a member of the faculty at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Calcutta, told The Telegraph.

This year was the first time that the IITs analysed board-wise participation of students and their performance. Earlier, the tech schools used to limit the data to just two categories — CBSE students and the rest.

Sengupta said the Andhra board syllabus was more aligned towards the national boards. “Besides, students from the CBSE and Andhra Pradesh are better prepared for this test.”

Sengupta was part of an expert committee set up to suggest a method to normalise state board scores for the purpose of giving weightage for admission to the National Institutes of Technology (NITs).

Only the first 1.5 lakh on the JEE Main merit list — after normalisation of scores that involved a percentile-based formula — were eligible to sit for the JEE Advanced.

Around 12.5 lakh students appeared this year for the CBSE-conducted JEE-Main, the first of the two-tier test every engineer has to clear. Some 1.26 lakh appeared for the JEE-Advanced, conducted by the IITs.

Professor H.C. Gupta, chairman, JEE-Advanced 2013, said that while CBSE students accounted for nearly 50 per cent of those who sat for the JEE-Main, the participation of students from state boards has remained low.

“The syllabus among boards is 95 per cent similar. But participation of students from boards varies hugely,” he said.

An IIT Kharagpur teacher said the performance of students depends on many factors, including preparation and encouragement from family. “State board students, mostly from rural areas, don’t get enough encouragement.”

Gupta said private coaching could be one reason behind the success of students from the Andhra board. IT hub Hyderabad, he added, is a centre for private coaching for all kinds of national entrance exams.