The Telegraph
Wednesday , May 14 , 2014

IITs defer joint counselling

New Delhi, May 13: The Indian Institutes of Technology have again deferred joint counselling sessions with NITs, saying the software required to introduce the new system for admission to BTech courses was not “ready” yet.

The government had suggested that the tech schools hold common counselling, a system aimed at eliminating the possibility of students blocking seats in multiple institutions, but the IITs said the software needed to be tested.

“Any new system must be thoroughly tested before being introduced. The software for joint counselling is not ready. How can it be done this year?” said an IIT professor associated with the development.

Last year, too, the HRD ministry had asked the 16 IITs to hold joint counselling sessions with the 30 National Institutes Technology. The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) had prepared the software but the IITs backed out at the last moment, saying there had been no trial run.

The idea behind joint counselling was to ensure that seats didn’t remain vacant. Because of separate counselling, a candidate can get offers of admission from an IIT as well as an NIT. He blocks both seats and vacates one at the last moment, giving that institute hardly any chance to fill up that seat. Some 600 seats in NITs and 300 in IITs remained vacant last year.

If there is joint counselling, a student will get an offer of admission from one institute — either an IIT or an NIT — and cannot block seats in both.

An HRD ministry official said the IITs had set up an “expert committee” to look into the technical issues involved. “The IITs and the NITs use different software for counselling. On the basis of its (the committee’s) recommendations, the new software would be developed and tested,” the official said, adding that joint counselling might be introduced from 2015.

NIT Goa director G.R.C. Reddy wondered if the IITs were at all interested in joint counselling. “I think their brand image would take a beating if... top rank holders prefer NITs to pursue their branch of choice.”

Former NIT Delhi director Sandeep Sancheti said it shouldn’t take more than a month to “develop and validate” the software. “I think the problem is the mindset of IIT administrators.”

But former IIT-JEE Advanced chairman H.C. Gupta said the software developed by the CDAC last year had not been tested. “We couldn’t have taken the risk. If anything went wrong, we would have taken all the blame.”