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Anand bats for more shots at IIT

Mathematician and Super 30 founder Anand Kumar on Friday met Union HRD minister Smriti Irani and requested her to increase the number of attempts to crack the IIT exam.

He also discussed various reforms in the entrance test of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and other national-level engineering institutes. The idea was to make these examinations more inclusive in nature.

Welcoming the Union government’s decision to increase the number of chances to six in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the mathematician urged the Union minister to do the same for IIT aspirants.

Talking to The Telegraph from New Delhi, Anand said: “I urged the minister to increase the number of attempts in IITs, as students only get two chances at present. They must get three chances.”

Anand told Smriti that students from economically weaker sections of society, especially from rural areas, get to know about the examination later and restricting them to only two attempts was not fair. He added that such students lack facilities to prepare.

He drew the minister’s attention towards issue that could benefit students, especially those from underprivileged sections of society and rural areas. The Super 30 founder also underlined how the weightage to different boards in the admission process was cumbersome despite using the percentile method. Anand said different boards have different marking patterns. He said: “The learning pattern of the students also varies hugely. If the objective is to promote schooling and reduce influence of coaching, it would be better to base the exam strictly on the Plus II pattern with conceptual-type questions.”

The mathematics teacher also talked about the top 20 percentile eligibility to take the test. Anand said: “Marking at Plus Two levels may vary in different state boards. In such a situation, giving a chance to only top 20 percentile students in respective boards is not fair to ones from boards, where the marking may not be so liberal.”

The mathematician’s observation assume significance as in this year’s IIT entrance, students from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) continued to dominate with about 55 per cent shortlisted candidates invited for admission this year.

Sources said the performance of students from boards in eastern Indian states — West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education, Odisha Council of Higher Secondary Education, Bihar School Examination Board, Assam Higher Secondary Education Council and Jharkhand Academic Council was, however, poor.

Admission to IITs is now done through a two-tier entrance test. The CBSE conducts the JEE-Main, while the IITs hold the JEE-Advanced.