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Class XII cutoff for IITs to be raised

New Delhi, Oct. 19: Students may soon need higher scores in their Class XII board examination to become eligible for the IIT entrance test, under a government plan aimed at persuading them not to neglect the school-ending exam.

Students now need to score at least 60 per cent in their Class XII boards to be granted admission even if they have cleared the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE), which generally precedes the declaration of the board results.

The IIT Council, the tech schools’ highest decision-making body, today agreed to raise the Class XII eligibility score.

“We want to curb the teaching shops that are proliferating in the name of coaching classes (for the IIT entrance exam). Students ought not to neglect their board examinations,” Sibal said after the meeting of the council, which he heads.

Among students who meet the cutoff, admission will be granted solely on the basis of performance in the IIT-JEE, as is done now, with no weight given to the board scores.

The decision to hike the cutoff is based on a proposal from IIT Madras director M.S. Ananth that the council had been considering for over a year, and which The Telegraph had reported on August 25 last year.

A panel appointed by the IIT Council today will recommend the new cutoff and propose new curricula, focusing on greater collaboration between engineering, information technology and the biological sciences.

It will also recommend reforms to the JEE, Sibal said, though most of the recommendations by two earlier exam reform panels still lie unimplemented.

“I was not there when those panels were set up. Let us not look at the past,” the minister said, asked about the recommendations of those panels, also aimed at coaxing students not to neglect their board examinations.

The new panel will be jointly headed by the secretary of science and technology, the secretary of biotechnology and the director-general of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. It is expected to hand in its report in three months.

The council formed a second, five-member panel under India’s atomic energy chief Anil Kakodkar to outline a vision for the future of the IITs. The draft, which the team is expected to submit in six months, will redefine the institutes’ responsibilities to the nation and suggest mechanisms for greater collaboration with the private sector.

“There are areas of research and academics where the IITs have a nation-building role, where the private sector cannot be allowed entry. But there are other areas where greater collaboration is required,” Sibal said, adding that he did not envisage the IITs attaining financial independence from the government soon, unlike the IIMs.

The council also decided to ease the admission norms for foreign students into postgraduate courses. The institutes are now expected to propose admission reforms.

The IIT Council also decided that a significant component of government funding to the institutes would now be granted on the basis of the number of students at the particular institute.

This would apply to non-plan funds — budget allocations beyond finances earmarked under a five-year plan. The IITs now receive broadly identical non-plan funding despite large differences in the sizes of their student intake.

Sibal said the IIT directors were yet to submit their proposal for a performance-related incentive scheme that the faculty had demanded and the government accepted.

IIT decisions taken on Monday

HRD minister Kapil Sibal

Minimum Class XII board marks for eligibility to be raised

New curricula for greater collaboration between engineering, IT, biology

New vision document, including suggestions for greater collaboration with private sector

Entrance exam to be reformed

Funds to each IIT based on its student intake

Easier PG admission for foreign students; IITs to propose admission reforms to lure more foreign students

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