The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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New JEE rules ruffle students

Calcutta, Dec. 14: Eighteen-year-old aspiring computer engineer Ranjan Mukherjee is not happy that he will no longer be able to start the joint entrance examination with the question he finds easiest.

New rules framed by the Joint Entrance Examination Board have instead made things easy for examiners by earmarking answersheets to each question. So from the 2004 session, the answer to question 1, for instance, will have to be written on the answersheet set aside for it.

As a result, a candidate will have to be sure of his question before asking for the answersheet as he will not have the liberty to write the answer to any other question on it.

Students and their parents have not taken kindly to the changes. “This rule will only cause harassment, and nothing else, for our children,” said Uttam Bhattacharya, a parent from Garia.

Ranjan is rather confused and scared that marks will be deducted if the rules are not followed. “The examiners will ignore the answer if a candidate ends up writing in any answersheet other than the earmarked one that we will supply,” board member-secretary Aloke Das said. The examiners will have it easier as the answersheets will be distinguished by their colours of light red, blue, green, and yellow.

“We decided on this to make things easier for examiners, who have to flip through several pages before getting to the answers they are assigned to check, as students always have a tendency to attempt the easier question first and then proceed to the next one,” said Das, the brain behind the idea.

The new rules are also expected to make the examination procedure foolproof. “The government has been asking us to publish results much faster. Now, with the new rules, it can be done very easily as the examiner will not have to spend much time looking for the answers by flipping through pages,” Das added.

That, however, is not the extent of Ranjan’s woes. The information booklet he received with the examination form had many pages missing, making the new rules that much more difficult to understand.

Candidates complained they had to pay Rs 15 more for the syllabus booklet, made available with the form, though most of them had already bought it.

Some others complained that the examination forms did not bear the official seal of the United Bank of India — various branches of which are handing these out — leading to the forms’ cancellation by the authorities.

“I did not bother to look for the bank’s seal because I was not told to do so,” Soumen Roy, a prospective candidate, said.

Das said this was a “rare instance” as a form is checked several times before it is handed out.

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