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IITs agree on entrance test rules

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By BASANT KUMAR MOHANTY
  • Published 28.06.12
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(From left) IIT Delhi director RK Shevgaonkar, IIT Madras chairperson MM Sharma and IIT Gandhinagar chairperson RA Mashelkar at a news conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi, June 27: The IIT Council today rolled back its decision to grant weightage to board marks but introduced the criterion that aspirants must be among the top 20 percentile holders of their respective boards for admission to IITs.

The move satisfied IIT faculty members, a section of whom had opposed weightage to board marks, but disappointed others who felt it would “go against the poor”.

The joint admission board, a body of IIT directors, suggested the compromise formula that was approved by the IIT Council. But council chairperson and HRD minister Kapil Sibal skipped the meeting, apparently to send out the message that he had not influenced the decision-making process.

From next year, the present IIT-JEE and All India Engineering Entrance Examination will be replaced by the two-tier Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).

The JEE-Main, the first-round test, will be mandatory for students aspiring to make any of the centrally funded technical institutions (CFTIs) such as IITs, NITs and IIITs.

The JEE-Main will be an objective-type test conducted by the CBSE with support from the CFTIs.

For the JEE-Advanced, about 1.5 lakh students will be selected on the basis of their performance in the JEE-Main. The reservation criteria of 27 per cent OBCs, 15 per cent SCs and 7.5 per cent STs would be followed in selecting these students.

The JEE-Advanced will be conducted entirely by the IITs. The joint admission board will decide the modalities of this test.

The IITs will draw up a merit list based on students’ performance in the JEE-Advanced and provided they are among the top 20 percentile holders of their respective boards and categories (general or reserved).

The meritorious candidates will be awarded category-ranks on the basis of which they will get admission to the IITs.

IIT Madras chairperson M.M. Sharma chaired today’s meeting in Sibal’s absence. The meeting started with a statement from Sibal — it was read out — justifying the need for change in the engineering entrance exam.

The statement said students were not giving importance to school work and private coaching was flourishing because of the tough format of the existing IIT-JEE.

“The percentile system is an inclusive formula. Some boards in the Northeast award very little marks to children. Such students, even though they secure less marks, will be eligible for admission if they are among the top 20 percentile holders and they do well in JEE,” Sharma said.

The present eligibility criterion for admission into IITs is 60 per cent marks in the Class XII board exams for general and OBC category students and 55 per cent for SC/ST students. This will be replaced by the top 20 percentile system.

“The top 20 percentile criteria will instil a competitive attitude among the students. They will start taking the board exam seriously,” said CBSE chairperson Vineet Joshi.

The IIT Council advised the joint admission board to constitute a group for co-ordination with the Council of Boards of School Education to educate students and the public at large about the percentile system.

The admission procedures for CFTIs other than IITs will be decided at a separate meeting on July 4, an official said. The 40 per cent weightage to board marks, as decided earlier, could continue for NITs and other CFTIs.

However, under the new system for IITs, there will be no weightage to board marks. Earlier, the IIT Council had decided to give 50 per cent weightage to board marks and 50 per cent to JEE-Main while selecting 50,000 students in the first filter. The IIT faculty federation opposed this.

“We had a meeting this morning. We are happy with the new compromise formula. We have no objection to its implementation from 2013,” said Sarit Kumar Das, a member of the IIT faculty federation.

Sibal welcomed the council decision that ended the month-long tussle between the IIT Council and the faculty. “I appreciate the fact that council has come to a decision and all stakeholders are on board. But there is still a long way to go,” he said.

However, the Super 30 founder Anand Kumar said the top 20 percentile criterion would “go against the poor, who don’t have the opportunity to study in elite schools”.

“There is a huge gulf between the standard of top public schools and those run by the government. For the poor, who study in rural schools lacking even basic facilities and quality teachers, it will be a big deterrent.

“So far, they had a level-playing field, where their hard work and performance mattered…. But the 20 percentile could be killing for genuine students,” Kumar said.

“They completed Class XI and are now in Class XII. Suddenly they realise now that school results are also important. The IIT Council should have implemented it from 2014 to give students some time.”