The Telegraph
Monday , November 4 , 2013
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Odisha, Maharashtra switch to JEE-Main

New Delhi, Nov. 3: Odisha and Maharashtra will not hold their state-level joint entrance examinations in engineering from next year, with both states having decided to adopt the JEE-Main score to select students for admission to tech schools.

Gujarat had switched to JEE-Main this year, and Bengal is expected to adopt it from 2015-16. The Bengal government has written to the HRD ministry that it will align its syllabus with that of the national school boards, such as CBSE and CISCE, and then make the switch.

The JEE-Main, conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), is a selection test for the National Institutes of Technology (NIT) and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT). It is also the first filter for the Indian Institutes of Technology — the top 1.5 lakh students are allowed to take the JEE-Advanced test for admission into the IITs.

The JEE (Main)-2014 will be held in April, a senior CBSE official said.

“After Gujarat, Odisha and Maharashtra have now decided to adopt JEE-Main. These states will no longer conduct their own JEEs. This shows that JEE-Main is gaining acceptance as the national level entrance test in engineering,” the official said.

State governments conduct their own JEE for admission into government and private engineering colleges in the respective state. The Union HRD ministry, which last year brought reforms to the engineering entrance tests conducted by the CBSE and the IITs, pushed JEE-Main as the national exam and asked all states to adopt it.

Gujarat, Odisha and Maharashtra have 163, 190 and 679 engineering colleges respectively. Former Odisha JEE chairperson Deva Tripathy welcomed the state’s decision.

“A state level JEE is a huge affair that needs resources, funds and meticulous preparation and safeguards. The state will be relieved of such a task by joining the national entrance. The quality of the national entrance will be better also,” Tripathy said.

The CBSE will provide the JEE-Main results to the state. If the state wants to give weightage to the school board score, it can do so, the CBSE official said.

The secretary of the Odisha Private Engineering College Association, Binod Dash, said the decision would help students and parents. “The students were appearing for the national entrance and the state-level JEE also. Now they will appear for just one entrance,” Dash said.

State governments reserve 70 per cent seats for the students of the respective state. That quota will be protected.

“The CBSE has assured that they will bring out the national merit list and also a state level merit listů. The students who figure in the state-level merit list and miss out on the national merit list will be eligible for admission in engineering colleges in the concerned state,” Dash said.

Private engineering colleges are facing a shortage of students, with about 18,000 of the total 37,000 seats in 190 engineering colleges in Odisha are lying vacant this year.

A senior official in All India Council of Technical Education, which grants approval to new engineering colleges in the country, said private engineering colleges face 20 to 30 per cent vacancy across the country.

“The main reason for vacancy is location of the institute. Many colleges are located in rural areas and they fail to attract students,” AICTE chairman S.S. Mantha said.