Barely 24 hours after the Centre decided to shut IIT doors on students who score less than 60 per cent in the Class XII exams, the Higher Secondary (HS) council on Tuesday initiated a move to restructure its examination system.
The aim: to help IIT-aspirants from the HS board to score as high as their counterparts from other boards.
The IIT policy shift sparked apprehension in the elite HS schools that deserving students would fail to make it to the premier engineering institutes due to the cut-off percentage at the board examinations.
Most HS students and teachers believe that the other boards are more liberal in terms of question papers and answer-script evaluation.
The proposed changes in HS include shift of emphasis from definition, analysis and explanation to short answers. There is also a proposal to split questions bearing high marks into several parts.
Changes in the Joint Entrance Examination for the IITs (JEE-IIT) were announced by the Union human resources development ministry on Monday.
As per new rules, clearing the entrance examination will no longer be enough for a student to secure admission in an IIT. He or she will also have to obtain a minimum of 60 per cent in the Class XII exams.
'The standard of questions set by us and our marking pattern is definitely tougher than other boards,' HS council secretary Debashis Sarkar said on Tuesday. 'We want to ensure that not a single student from an HS school is denied an IIT berth because he or she has not secured 60 per cent in the board examination.'
Sarkar reasoned that students must not suffer 'because of the disparity in the examination systems followed by us and the other boards'.
The council had recently decided to hold the HS exams only on the basis of the Class XII syllabus, just as the other boards do.
The council was working on a process to modernise the HS question pattern when the Centre's decision was announced.
To make the remodelling exercise more objective, the council has sought from the JEE-IIT authorities a list of candidates who have cleared the examination in the past 10 years. The marks obtained in the board examination by the HS students would be culled from the rolls.
'If we find that several students had cleared the JEE-IIT, despite scoring less than 65 per cent in HS, we may consider a major revamp. On the other hand, if most of the successful students have scored high marks in HS, the restructuring won't be as drastic,' a council official said.
Council officials predicted that the candidates who had secured admission in the IITs would be found to have also scored high in HS. That can only be ascertained after the marks are tallied.