The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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States lobby Delhi on JEE cut-off

New Delhi, Oct. 20: Several state examination boards, including that of Bengal, have petitioned the human resource development ministry to lower the cut-off marks for appearance in the IIT joint entrance examination (JEE).

The ministry had last month announced that students will have to secure a minimum of 60 per cent in their plus-two board examination to be eligible to sit for the entrance test from 2007.

The policymakers, however, are not in favour of lowering the cut-off. The objective of the reform is to make the students pay more attention to their regular studies in school.

The chairpersons of the examination boards of Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh met officials of the ministry, the CBSE and the ICSE.

They told the Centre that it would be difficult for students who take the state board examinations to meet the 60 per cent target.

State examination boards are under pressure from students to petition the Centre to reverse the decision.

At present, a student with 40 per cent marks can sit for the joint entrance examination.

Experts concede that at present, a great deal of discrepancy prevails between the standards of state examination boards and central boards like the CBSE and the ICSE.

Students appearing for central board examinations tend to score higher marks than those taking the state board tests. Sometimes the gap is such that students and parents have accused state boards of being tight-fisted.

This is not the first time that petitions have been sent to the ministry on the JEE eligibility decision. Soon after the announcement was made, some students staged street protests but the government refused to lower the cut-off marks.

Academics say state examination boards should pull up their socks and reform the way they conduct examinations, particularly their evaluation system. One of the ways to deal with the new situation is to be more lenient in giving marks. The CBSE and the ICSE, the experts point out, have a fairer system of assessment.

The Centre feels that a retreat would help coaching centres regain their stranglehold on students. “The students are now neglecting their school education and solely concentrating on coaching centres. We want the students to take the board examinations seriously,” said a ministry official.

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