The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Joint entrance made simpler

For those striving to be doctors or engineers, things will become far simpler from 2003.

The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), till now a 400-mark test with a 200-mark mathematics or biology paper, will be replaced by a shorter 300-mark version next year. The mathematics and biology papers — necessary for those wishing to take up engineering and medicine as career options — will be pruned from 200-mark papers to 100 marks each. The syllabi will be modified accordingly.

The decision to ring in the changes was taken at a meeting where all members of the board were present last week, member-secretary of the JEE board Alok Das told Metro. “We are now working on restructuring the syllabi of the two subjects,” he added.

A booklet, listing the changes and explaining them in detail, will be published by the board and sold to students along with the JEE forms, said officials. “The changes will be made known as soon as possible,” they added.

The changes, say officials, have been geared to tackle the private-tuition menace. The JEE has always been a happy hunting ground for private tutors, who cash in on the desperation of aspirants and their guardians.

Education department officials who are connected with the marks-pruning and syllabi-modification procedure added: “The move is also aimed at enabling students to score higher marks, so that more candidates can pass the qualifying levels.”

A rise in the number of successful examinees in JEE is necessary for filling up the large number of seats now available, because of the numerous private engineering institutions that have mushroomed in the state, said a senior official of the education department. Many seats in these colleges could not find takers last year, state higher education department officials said.

Some senior teachers in the city have, however, criticised the JEE board move. “It will not be possible to get high-performing students in the engineering and medical professions if the total marks in the two main subjects are slashed in this manner,” a Jadavpur University teacher said.

Alok Das, however, ruled out any large-scale tinkering with the syllabus in either mathematics or biology. “The topics will remain the same,” he added, allaying fears of students not being tested properly at the qualifying level.

“The changes in syllabus and examination format will have no effect on the quality of students entering the state’s engineering and medical colleges,” maintained Das. “The entrance examination will remain a genuine test of their prowess and their potential professional acumen,” he added.

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