“ a compromise formula which includes a proposal to take top 20% students based on percentile ranking of respective boards for preparing the merit list”

How meaningless is this solution ?. Higher education in India will become the domain of the school toppers and Children of affluent parents and we wonder why half a million students leave India to study undergraduate courses overseas. Children who will never return to a country that shunned them.

Is this is what we call inclusive in RTE ?.

God Save India

Inclusive education does not mean that everyone must enter, or pass out from, an IIT. It only means that if you wanted to, you could have a shot at it. The child labourer is excluded because she can never dream of entering an IIT; she may absolutely hate IIT, but not trying to join an IIT should be her decision. Even if there is only one IIT train, every child must have access to the platform where the train comes. Of course, not everyone will get on to the train but everyone knows what to do to have a shot at the train. This is called inclusion in education. Everyone must go to school till class 12; those who work hard, and are willing to work harder still, will join an IIT. Others will, by choice, decide not to work that hard and become economists.

Shubhashis Gangopadhyay

All children are born equal and mindless politicians are trying to grade the children and youth of the nation and create a new Brahamanical Caste system in Education, which is pandering to the neo rich who can afford to send their children to elite private schools and Coaching schools.

"HRD Ministry of India wants to build castles of higher education on the bamboo scaffoldings of its schools" ~ Satish Jha

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Monday, March 12, 2012

12 - IIT JEE Will be missed - Forbes India


The Joint Entrance Exams for admission to the IITs, which are expected to be scrapped, was created to weed out mediocrity and test the intricate knowledge of students

Image: Hindustan Times/ Anshuman Poyrekar
BRAIN TEASERS The IIT-JEE would definitely rank among the toughest three examinations in the World

A former director of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, professor M.S. Ananth, recollects a dinner table conversation with an Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer. The IAS officer firmly believed that the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) could easily be replaced by any other exam in India. 

Like what, asked Ananth? Perhaps, the UPSC examination, argued the officer. It is fair, tough and can pick the best minds in the country. Ananth remembers his retort to that suggestion. “You get your current UPSC batch and I will get my students and let’s see which is the best team at analytical and reasoning skills.” Ananth claims the officer had a hearty laugh and left it at that.

There is the Dakar Rally in motor rallying. There is the Ironman Triathlon in athleticism. And then there is the Hell Week at the Navy Seal’s training course in the US Marine Corps. These are things that push the mind and the body to the extent possible. The IIT-JEE can be added to this list. It would definitely rank among the toughest three examinations in the world.

The JEE began life as the Common Entrance Exam (CEE). The CEE coincides with the IIT Act of 1961. The idea was to weed out mediocre talent and pick only those who could solve S.L. Loney’s trigonometric identities while brushing their teeth. A JEE question wasn’t just a question. It was designed to knock the intellectual stuffing out of the candidate.

Many who have been a part of the JEE system feel it is the best examination when it comes to testing the intricate knowledge of students. “It does not matter if 2 lakh or 5 lakh students are taking the exam,” says Dr. Ashok Misra, chairman of Intellectual Ventures and former director of IIT, Bombay.

Misra himself took the JEE (then CEE) in 1963.  “It didn’t matter where you came from; to clear the JEE you had to be good,” says professor Jayant Baliga, Distinguished University Professor NC State University who was in the top 50 when he took the exam in 1965.

To help the students, postal coaching classes like Brilliant Tutorials came up. Later, coaching towns like Kota in Rajasthan came up as most state boards did not equip students for the gruelling demands of the JEE. Lalit Goel, an IIT Bombay alumnus, and top 50 ranker in the JEE, remembers his days at Bansal Classes in Kota. “I had made a decision that I will not play [cricket] and not think about girls. We are all away from home. All days were very busy with the coaching and homework,” he says.

But what made the JEE a starting point for something good was the faculty. “It was absolutely world class. I remember my mechanics professor telling me that they weren’t here to teach us a topic, but rather a way of thinking about problems. That’s what makes the IITs special. The JEE is just the start,” says Nitin Srivastava, co-founder & CEO, Mindworks Global Media Services, and an alumnus of IIT Kanpur.
So long JEE: It was tough while it lasted!

This article appeared in Forbes India Magazine of 02 March, 2012

From: Vickram Crishna -IITD
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 11:12:25 +0530

Hi Ram

I took the JEE (I think it was still called CEE then) in 1969, following my completion of the school leaving examination. Only because I had some sense of not working hard enough for it, I also joined a coaching class, but it was run by a Delhi school (St Columba's) because my own school (St Xavier's) clearly did not encourage the idea of coaching classes (the principal was a noted educationist who served later on the advisory council for national education). I can't say that attending the class helped me much, because I felt somewhat ambivalent about the 'coaching' class on the one hand, and on the other, St Columba's was 'the enemy' as far as school rivalries went. As you know, I did manage to stumble into IIT, and have stumbled my way through technology for the remaining part of my life quite happily.

fyi, some 13 of my class of 31 or 32 students at Xavier's chose IITD, many of the others heading to Bombay, Madras*, Kanpur and Kharagpur. I don't remember the total any more, but it was somewhere like 25 or 26. I only know one person, a good friend, who actually did not make it into IIT that year having tried. There were a handful of diehards who did not take the examination.
(*do you know my classmate Paul Roberts who is presently in Sydney?)

I am only mentioning this because 
a) this article seems to imply that coaching classes are a good thing 
and b) I also know that students from Madras later grew to 'cracking' the IITJEE right from the 8th standard, a damning indictment of a failing secondary education system and tyrannical reverse discrimination in TN.

I thank my school teachers as much and more than the teachers from Columba's, who after all only had to put up with my grumbling presence for 2 months. 
From: Kumar Iyer - IIT KGP
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2012 22:49:44 -0800 (PST)

The best Universities in the world have evolved a tradition of identifying and picking up the best minds for admission. None of them use a single tool like the JEE for evaluation. 

It is time for the IITs, too, to evolve a similar broad-based entry procedure. If the quality of instruction retains its high standard, there is no reason why the brand value of the IITs should be affected.

Yes, so long JEE: It was tough while it lasted! We, the original warriors, came through. But it is no longer necessary that everybody need be a gladiator.

It's time to move on.

From: Purnima Gupta - IITR -
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 02:15:09 -0500 (EST)

Unless we let go of the old, nothing new can happen. Let us welcome the change and hope for better.

On Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 1:15 PM, Suresh Adina  wrote:

I do not think it really matters. Our education system is in such tatters that the selection of students for technical education at these institutes will not matter. Any selection criterion applied will pick some of the best and some not so good. And some mediocre will anyway get in.

It is not up to the faculty to make the best of what they get. this may also be the real test for the IITs so that they can show their true potential in educating students rather than just taking the best (however they may be assessed) and teach them the subjects. Hopefully less than the cream of students may change the education system in IITs.

There can always be a silver lining to any cloud. We have to remove our dark glasses to see it. Let us not stay bogged down in holding something so sacrosanct just because we are a product of the system. Time changes everything.

Suresh A

From: Deepak Mirza - IITD Mirza'
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 14:59:41 +0530


I think we are giving up too easy – the new system will immensely increase entry of non-deserving candidates,

Anything short of a single or 2 stage , conducted-under-controlled-conditions, with no room for ANY FORM of cheating (as we believe the present JEE is) will kill the IIT’s.

We cannot conduct a fraud-free board exams for millions of school board examinees countrywide – esp. if entry into IIT’s is at stake,

The smallest % of misuse, is enough to fill 50% + (or 80 % - 100 ???) of all IIT slots with non-deserving candidates,

We must do all we can to stop this change. For reasons above; a part-compromise here is a IIT system death-knell,

IIT students and IIT Alumni may find this a seriously worthy cause to go the govt and media with – including hunger fasts viz the braver,

It’s a very very serious problem we face today,


From: akshat shankar
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 22:14:22 +0530
All this seems fine till we don't remember the context.
One corrupt lawyer turned politician whose first claim to fame was to save a corrupt judge in the impeachment process, is singly deciding whom IITs should select.
Faculty is not being consulted on this...Students are not being consulted on this...and the Alumni are not being consulted on this.
Students who protest are being warned by the Director that 'DISCO' would be put against them. He is not even listening to the Senate.
If everything is so fair, then why don't they allow us a debate.
And despite the opaqueness in the approach, people are asking to welcome this change!
Can't we simply compare IIT of today with the one before Arjun Singh and Kapil Sibal came to HRD ministry!

Akshat Shankar
PS: Abolishing of JEE is only a small issue...the bigger thing is that the autonomy of the IITs should be restored.

From: Ravikumar Bhaskaran IITKgp 
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 23:28:05 -0800 (PST)

Let us not not make such sweeping statements. Let us please be objective in our assessment and base the same on facts. In my view IITs are not going to dogs but on the other hand are only growing in stature. In fact I have been looking at the profiles of many IIT alumni who have passed out in the past 10 years or so and am indeed so happy to see that most of them are so well placed. I find that many of them have had a much more rapid rise in their careers compared to the older generations of IITians and started companies of their own at a much younger average age. In terms of placements more and more companies are queuing up at the IITs for campus recruitment, many of them from abroad and paying very high salaries. Why should this happen unless the IIT graduates are good? These facts should counter the argument about deteriorating standards of students at IITs by our fellow alumnus Mr.Narayanamurthy and others.

Pray, what do you mean by "clone IITs" and "deemed IITs"? and speaking about the new IITs I feel one should appreciate that the older IITs also had gone through their birth pangs in the initial years. I remember that when I joined the Civil Engineering Department at IIT Madras for research in 1969 as one of the two full time scholars in the Soil Mechanics Division, except for one person who had just received his Ph.D., there were none with a Ph.D. in the faculty of this Division. The head of this Division was an Associate Professor and all the rest were lecturers with M.Tech. and registered for Ph.D. One person joined later that year with a Dr.Ing. as Asst.Professor. The labs. of this Division which was offering a M.Tech. programme was only good for UG instruction. Much of the research level lab. facilties were created subsequently. Considerable amount of consultancy work was going on thanks to the HOD with a very competent lab. staff. doing routine soil tests. The position in other Divisions in Civil Engineering was also just okay with a number of lecturers working for their Ph.D. There was German assistance for the Hydraulics and Structural Engg. Divisions. I am sure that the early days of all the other older IITs must have been more or less the same. Stories from the early batches of students from IIT Kharagpur talk about so many hardships faced by them, which has stood them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

However, look at the new IITs, their faculty and facilties. Some of them have AC class rooms fitted with multi media projectors.Many of the faculty use PPTs for their lectures. Look at the scholars and other visitors they are getting from all over. Look at the collaborations they have with other global institutions. Look at the research student - faculty ratios of some of these new IITs. And six of them are just over three years old and two others just over two years old. True, most of them are operating out of temporary premises. IIT Kharagpur started from a jail building!! I feel that all of us should be proud of these new IITs and try and help in whatever way we can rather than pull down the morale of the fellow IITians passing out of these IITs this year, and of the young faculty and the Directors who are trying to do a good job in spite of so many problems.

Let us not all the time talk of our own good days and how things are now going to dogs everywhere!! Let us give hope to the youngsters and let us do whatever is possible to help the IITs and the IIT system. Regarding the scrapping of IIT-JEE if the IITs have no issues with the same, I do not know what we, as alumni, would be able to do. We must also note that many of the Directors of the IITs and many of the faculty of the IITs are themselves IIT alumni. Our worry is about brand IIT getting diluted but that should be their worry as well. Indeed, the Directors and faculty of IITs should be more concerned if they are going to get poorer quality of students to teach because of the new procedure for admission coming in replacing the IIT-JEE !

From: Ram Krishnaswamy
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 7:57 AM

Akshat I feel the same way you do. In fact I am extremely angry to see IITs go to the dogs. MMJ started stabbing IITs and clone IITs by Creating Deemed IITs, Arjun Singh added reservation to IITs and Now Kapil Sibal has spawned a dozen new IITs without any infrastructure and now is scrapping JEE which to me is the last nail in the IIT Coffin.

So what use is PanIIT as an Organisation is my question….???

From: Purnima Gupta - IITR
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 21:39:28 -0500 (EST)

IITs are not going to dogs. They are going to our successors. Our predecessors did their jobs and established IITs. We did our jobs. Let us not underestimate the future.
From: akshat shankar
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2012 07:36:07 +0530

[Attachment(s) from akshat shankar included below]

1) Isn't it true that the prestige of IITs has decreased substantially in past few years
2) Isn't it true that the autonomy of IITs has been undermined where most of the big policy decisions are dictated by the minister.
3) Isn't it true that the reservation for students was forced on IITs which also led to increase in number of seats. The Teacher Student ratio has worsened to alarming levels.
4) Isn't it true that Arjun Singh pushed for reservation in Faculty which can have disastrous consequences for our institute.
5) Isn't it true that 7 new IITs were opened before having proper infrastructure. In fact till 2 years after the commencement, it was not clear which city would IIT Rajasthan be situated in!
And the List goes on...

Importantly,isn't it true that we are not being given an opportunity of a discussion. If the change is even arguably good, it should be debated.
I am attaching the photograph of IIT Delhi when Kapil Sibal visited yesterday. Students were prevented to enter the Golden Jubilee celebrations of their own institute as they feared that someone may ask a tough question to Sibal. Some who sneaked in, were shown the door when they stood up to speak. People were distributing a discussion document outside the function but all that material was snatched by the police. The whole area resembled like a curfew region of Srinagar or AnantNag. (see the photograph) My simple question is why and what they are afraid of!

We may have different opinions on many issues related to IITs but can't we all alumni agree that the Autonomy of IITs should be preserved! Future is not a gift which falls from heaven, its a result of our actions in present..its the time for us to rise and act.


PS: It should be remembered that 60 years back Thomson College (now known as IIT Roorkee) was one of the best institutes in Asia. Its autonomy was snatched and it was made a state university under Uttar Pradesh Government. Even 10 years after regaining autonomy, Roorkee still lags behind peer IITs and its not even a pale shadow of its glorious days. If we allow such things to happen, even the present IITs would meet the same fate.
From: "Rajeev Kumar, IIT KGP"
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2012 06:37:19 +0530

Who is responsible for this mess?

Kindly remember funding is not an issue at all..
From: Deepak Mirza - IITD
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2012 15:30:45 +0530


While the data and thoughts here are respect worthy as is the debate on these very many issues, it may be best to put in all we have NOW to stop the DISASTROUS change in the entrance-to-IIT process.

Yes, we could improve on it LATER … yet, for now, the guaranteed to cause cheating /misuse methods suggested must be dropped at all cost.

That’s what the IIT Staff , Alumni and Students must collectively aim for.

The guaranteed drop in Quality in one more very important set of Institutions in India, must be stemmed now,

Anyone willing to act on this specific task ???????

From: Ravikumar Bhaskaran IITKgp
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 02:37:08 -0800 (PST)

(Deepak) No one is going to listen to the alumni on this subject if the Directors and the Senates of all the IITs agree to the change in the admission procedure.

From: Ram Krishnaswamy-IITM
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 23:49:33 +1100

Deepak, why don't you start with IIT Alumni who drafted Pancha Ratna and presented it to the President and HRD as if it was the voice of all 175000 odd Alumni.
If you have not read Pancha Ratna then please do then you will know what I am talking about. We have to thank these extraordinary set of self appointed IITians for recommending a common exam nationally setting fire to IITJEE. We also have alumni like Purnima who endorse HRD move. I do not believe she sat for IIT JEE. If she did she would not have said what she has said.

From: Ravikumar Bhaskaran IITKgp
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2012 20:23:36 -0800 (PST)

(in response to Akshaat)

I. There are a couple of issues raised below which needs a debate.

How does one say that the prestige of the IITs have decreased substantially in the past few years?
How many of the older IITs have been opened after creating all the infrastructure? Indeed, how many of the Institutions or organizations created after creating all the infrastructure?

II. If there is a difficulty in finding out where IIT Rajasthan is located I do not think that it is fair to blame the Minister for HRD ? Surely the Minister or the Government does not interfere with any Institute creating its own website with all necessary particulars of their Institutes, its location etc.?

IIT. I wonder why they thought of calling the same as IIT Rajasthan rather than as IIT Jodhpur. All other IITs are described in terms of the city where they are located, though after the name change of the cities concerned IIT Madras and IIT Bombay, located in Chennai and Mumbai respectively still retain their old names as in the IIT Act.

The interesting point is that as far as I can see from the web ( http://www.academics-india.com/Institute%20of%20Technology%20Bill%202010.pdf ), the IIT Amendment Act which was under consideration by the Lok Sabha has named this IIT as Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur as amendments to Section 2 and Section 3 of the Principal Act though somewhere down below the same, there is a mention about insertion of Sub-clauses (viii) after Clause (j) where the Institute has been described as Indian Institute of Technology Rajasthan. But IIT Ropar has also been described as Indian Institute of Technology Punjab at sub-clause (xi) at the same place.

Ashok Kalbagh may like to throw some light on the last mentioned point and how exactly does the amended IIT Act describe this Institute, whether as Indian Institute of Technology Rajasthan or Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur.