“ 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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"Do you support the effort of Government of India to introduce a Common Engineering Entrance Examination scrapping IIT-JEE which would eventually dilute the IIT Brand?"

Friday, June 15, 2012

120 - IIT Alumni Discuss Pros and Cons of IIT JEE


IIT Alumni discuss PROs and CONs of IIT JEE - Feb 2010.


Why JEE should be scrapped: ( Names with held)

What's the problem with having one uniform engineering test for all aspiring engineers in the country? And then the students get to select their institute based on the rank they get. Like in the US. They have the SATs for under-grads and based on your score (and your school marks), you get to choose from a Stanford/MIT at one end, to a community college at the other. Or like the GRE for post-grads.

They shouldn't dilute the standard of the test. That is what people like us need to ensure.

In any case, I don't think the JEE is the holy cow it's made out to be. It's appalling the kind of students that get selected based on the JEE today. And it's disgusting the way children start the indoctrination from Class 8 now. Someone tells me it has become Class 7 in some places. How can a kid even know what s/he wants to do at that age?

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I am for a uniform entrance exam for all engineering institutions, and I'd like the examination to be more tuned to aptitude than ability to mug solutions. This exam can be set to a high standard so that the right people come to the top and get selected in IITs. Mind you, I am against people completing their engineering in IITs and immediately jumping on to the MBA band wagon, with the correct aptitude tests, these people can be weeded out of the IIT list.

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I am not all in favour of the current JEE and I am all for its removal. However I am all for having a system whereby IITs are able to get far more rounded students while maintaining the transparency of JEE.

The current JEE has given rise to coaching schools.

The prospective students start working on getting admission from grade 9th or even earlier by staying away from all other activities expected of a well rounded student.

Current JEE forces students just to score high marks, but it does not test the creativity or original thinking of the students.

The current JEE has helped build a good brand image for IITs by giving admission purely based on merit. But this so called merit has started to erode. In course of time old brand image may not last.

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The statement that "..... the dominance of JEE Coaching schools that deny poorer students access to IITs. This is a genuine problem that needs to be addressed and JEE Format modified to counter Coaching school dominance...."

The above oft-repeated statement is a superficial statement and does not reflect truth.

All of us know how difficult and expensive it is to put children in good schools. Even large cities have very few good schools, as compared to the demand. How many of us have not experienced the high-handedness of principals while giving admission ? (not necessarily any unethical practice.). As we go to smaller cities and then towns and smaller towns, the number of good schools decline further. Admission to such schools itself is not easy. It is almost impossible for a son or daughter of say, a hawker or a driver, (even if he were to afford the fee), to get admitted, as these schools also look for parents background (and they even test the children at that age of 2.5 to 4 years).

In addition, most of these schools today cost a fair amount of fees right from nursery/KG onwards till 12th. Not many poor families can afford these fees, if by some miracle, they were to get admitted to these schools.
Most of other schools are of indifferent standard.

If one goes to villages, then the situation is totally different, where 1 or 2 teachers with 2-3 rooms try and teach children of all classes in all subjects.

In such scenario, what are the chances of children from these schools to compete against the children of good schools?

In fact the coaching classes provide a leveling effect. After 10th
standard, if the students are good (and determined), then they try to get into classes and can make up for the vast difference in standards of the schools. It is difficult to imagine this sitting in a rarefied place like Bangalore. But if you go to the coaching centers of Kota, Bhillai etc, you can see not only higher middle class kids, but also a huge number of students from ordinary background from small towns of Bihar, UP, Assam, Jhakhand etc.

In financial terms, these classes do charge a fee of around Rs 60,000 per year (for two years of 11th and 12th and the student also has to pay rent for a PG and mess charges. But then this is much less then an outlay of around 50,000 plus required from nursery to class12 for most good schools. Also, there are means by which this burden is reduced - eg. scholarships provided
by classes, and support from their near and dear ones when they find a sincere student. (In contrast, I would like to be enlightened if any of the well known  schools in Bangalore take poor children in any proportion and then provide scholarships!!!).

I have observed this personally in Kota over last 5 years.

Also, the teaching standards at these classes are very high, so as to make up for the loss these poorer children faced due to having gone through lower end schools in earlier years.

One pointer to this was recent protest by Nitish Kumar when Mr. Sibbal mentioned about proposal to raise minimum bar for IIT as 80% in 12th standard. Nitish Kumar explained that the students from poor background in Bihar overcome their poor school system (where they would find getting 80% with great difficulty), by attending coaching classes in Bihar or outside.

The main issue with students working very hard for JEE is not because of presence of coaching classes, but due to (i) vast difference perceived by students between IITs and the next category of colleges and (ii) the high ratio of applicants to seats.

Obviously the only real way is to improve standards in other colleges so that students and parents do not think of getting into IIT as a sole goal during their student life.

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I think common entrance test for event 30-40 central govt. colleges would also be better JEE for IITs.

We can have common entrance test for all 350 colleges. That does not mean the students from any state can apply anywhere. Respective quotas would be adhered to.

So its just that have one entrance exam, provide the student with a score and that is considered as barometer as test score for all the colleges.

Making students appear for 4 - 5 exams just does not make sense.

So there is no point making JEE better.

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Things are not much different at AICTE, MHRD, IITs, Judicial or
Political front. Corruption, nepotism etc. are rampant everywhere. One can judge from this basic fact that JEE bunglings are making waves for the last 4 years, not a single voice is heard; not a single step is taken to reform, forget about unearthing.

The irony of scrapping JEE and having one common national exam is that it  will be managed by HRD where corruption is rampant     ( eg AICTE) and exam papers will be leaked out for a price.

Things are not much different at IITs too, at least with all those who command power, money and/or resources; others are least bothered about what is happening in their neighborhood.

Therefore, my humble suggestion is that the single examination should  be conducted with transparency and accountability.

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I am not sure whether this is a forum to express my views.

JEE has started destroying the childhood of many kids - they start
preparing for JEE from 6/7 grade onwards, seriously.  At the end of it all, IITs select only 1% of the applicants.  

The remaining 99% of "rejected" candidates form the workforce of India.  There cannot be a bigger unfair system.

For the country of India's size, the number of IITs available or those that can be created in the conceivable future will be inadequate.  It is time IITs help improve the levels of engineering education in the country, offered through about 3,000 engineering colleges.  IITs cannot do this so long as they are too involved in undergraduate education and related activities, such as JEE.  IITs should work to better the standards of engineering colleges.  IITs should use their influence to remove the engineering colleges from the clutches of organisations like AICTE - IITs are not even trying!  IITs should only have M.Tech and Ph.D programmes.  

One of the main objectives of these postgraduate programmes should be to create good teachers for engineering colleges.  IITs should  use their influence to help improve the ecosystem in engineering colleges (salaries, infrastructure, etc), so that good people come
forward once again to take up teaching positions.

In view of the above argument, my vote is for the abolishment of JEE and also the undergraduate education at IITs.

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I have mixed feelings about this whole issue. While it is true that the JEE has been responsible for the past successes of IITs, it seems to have produced a cottage industry of its own which is about 1% or so efficient; The 99% who go to these coaching classes and don't get into IIT have nothing to show for their years of hard work and neglect of their studies. (of course I made up the numbers, but the truth is perhaps not too far). Looking at the example of the SAT, I don't see why a well constructed common test cannot be used by all colleges. This way, kids don't gamble with their future, and other schools might well accept someone who has a low rank on the JEE. And the US higher education is not exactly falling apart, so there is nothing  inherently wrong with this idea.

I do agree, though, that the govt. should get out of this business, and let one or more private organizations manage this test; Best of both worlds would be for the IITs themselves to throw open the JEE scores to all colleges (perhaps it is happening now?), administer the test several times a year and make this the Indian SAT. This will avoid the obvious downsides of this plan (Govt. corruption, and the possibility of the careers of students being ruined by one bad test).

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Why JEE Should Not be scrapped ( Names with held)

It will take away the shine of  IIT Brand nationally and internationally built up so meticulously over the years by the IIT undergrads.
•    The IIT brand brilliance took its shine mainly from the tough questionnaire and examination schedule followed by the IIT JEE board
•    Good students took it as a matter of pride to do well in IITJEE
•    It is the still the toughest exam in this category for students seeking admission in Engineering colleges in India
•    Good students opted for this exam first and later to other entrance exams
•    The IIT entrance exam is well known even in Indian villages in far off places states like Himachal and Bihar.
•    The examination model and course content caters to all types of school exams like CBSE etc...
•    The exam pattern has been so unique that even advanced countries like Japan and China waned to implement the same pattern in their countries.
•    The exam pattern sits well with the examination pattern followed by other famous university exam patterns like Harvard, MIT etc...
•    Examination pattern has been modified well over the fifty ears and requires no more reforms except the examination course content
•    It affords an all India competition for rich, poor and backward classes an advantage which no other exam does be it for  Birla, Regional engineering colleges, all India engineering exam etc..
•    To avoid corruption in working out cut off marks a central committee comprising of trust worthy IIT professors picked from the complete gamut of IITs
•    The  selection and counseling  of candidates be left  to this central committee
•    The present rotation of IITJEE examination schedule by each IIT  be scarped and  a central committee be formed comprising of trust worthy IIT professors picked from the complete gamut of IITs
•    The committee members should be conditionally IIT students having passed the IITJEE in the last fifty years
•    The examination board committee should be autonomous and report directly the HRD ministry

PS: there are always chaps in this world who are out to undo the good. The Deputy director of IIT M himself has offered for scrapping the exam. I am sure Deputy director may have never appeared in IITJEE exam and has probably recommended its stay. You should not be surprised !. The ministry looks lovingly at this recommendation and says go ahead with all gusto since it has come from the very IIT brand itself. In Hindi " La kulhadi mar " or " aa bail mujhe mar "

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1.   JEE is the life line of IITs.
2.   Its flaws, defects should be corrected not JEE to be eliminated.
3.   We treat the organ which has problem, we do not cut 'em off.
4.   It is JEE which makes IITs' reputation. You can't take the lifeblood out of a system. You can't substitute human blood with monkey's saying they both are primates.
5.   JEE is an exam to pick the exceptionals and hence it’s an exception rather than a general rule. This makes IITs an exception and it should be treated that way
6.   Nowhere the government controlled colleges have done good. Once controlled it can only go down. examples are DU, JNU and BHU which have lost their sheen
7.   Once under gov control, there may not be any legitimate reason to have exam conducting body selected only from IITs and if one has not been in the IIT system, will not understand what it means
8.   A defunct/malacious rule/procedure of JEE system should be corrected and not the system be abolished
9.   Gov and IIT should make the system more and more transparent. IITs are known for that.

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As you correctly pointed out it is high time that we drop JEE in present form and one need not shed tears for that.  There is an urgent need to get rid of coaching schools. In fact in recent years much has been written against the JEE testing which only prepares the students to appear for examinations.  Kanpur IIT professors have been in the forefront and they have been writing many thoughtful articles on it.  I am copying an article I wrote critical of JEE in 2007 soon after our Ruby Union and I came under attack from many sides.

IITs need a system to select students after replacing JEE. When we joined IIT there was no JEE. They had a system of selecting top ranking students from each state. National integration was a big thing at that time.  Since those were the early days, that system worked for some time with some efficacy. I am not sure the system chose the best and the brightest. I suspect it did not.  I think around 1963/64 they started having entrance examination of some sort.  As years went by the questions started to get tough and coaching classes became the norm. Now its usefulness has gone and now we need to develop a better system which has to be objective while at the same time does not encourage coaching schools and also it takes into consideration such soft criteria like volunteering, communication skills, creative thinking etc.  The system has to be foolproof which cannot be manipulated to use connection and bribes. Can we develop such a system?  Even if some % of students get in because of influence, but most students meet the criteria mentioned above should we go for such a system?  This is essentially a multiple criteria problem where we need to optimize many criteria. The current JEE meets just one criterion of objectivity and does not lend itself to manipulation. Still we hear that some did manage to manipulate it and some got through despite poor marks.

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I very much endorse your sentiments. My memory is fading but my JEE 1968 was a pure horror movie classic. I STILL do not know what I did in my MPC papers. The questions might as well have been in Greek or Latin. I had no comprehension. However, one characteristic I had then and still do, is to interpret an unfathomable problem best I can and solve it using what I know. I guess I received partial credit for my answers, as opposed to zero credit had I skipped them, and these added up to my eventual placement around All India 700 (?) of the 1500 (?) or so placed that year.

The nightmarish reputation of the JEE is what attracts a pool of interested applicants, the vast majority of whom would probably place in the top 10% of their qualifying board (12th grade, +2 etc) school class. In other words, the board exam is the "heats", while JEE is the actual competition. This would definitely get diluted if the JEE were abolished. The hurdle in the proposed new exam that would replace the JEE will not be as high. It has to be set to be "doable" by the new set of say top 25-30% of all 12th grades interested in pursuing engineering.

Having said this, the JEE has become a racket in recent years. Some places and some states (that I do not wish to name) scoop up a ridiculously high % of the selected candidates, thanks to their access to the JEE classes. And those classes, based on my familiarity with a few cases from recent years, are nothing short of child abuse. In one instance, the kid attended a prelim coaching class at 3 am or so just in order to get into the best coaching class for JEE, reputed to have a very high % final selection. In my own time, my classmates from Chennai had JEE advantages that I did not even hear about, let alone have an opportunity to access, from my (then) small town. These issues must be addressed. Fortunately, we have the medium that is ever-expanding in its reach and capabilities.

IMO, one great contribution of PANIIT to the coming generations of young Indians would be funding the creation and launch of Internet-based JEE coaching classes, reasonably priced (not free, it will not be appreciated), accessible from most places in India. Existing capabilities even allow for fully functional audio+video content and multiple language explanations of concepts. Such a resource would enable the vast, very smart yet access-denied population of youngsters to properly prepare for the JEE. That should be the goal, rather than do away with the JEE. This needs to be impressed on the HRD minister.

JEE is one reason the IIT entrance exam attracts a pool of students interested in engineering and already performing very well in their classes (12th grade etc). It is sort of like a medal run at the Olympics where the heats are used to qualify the runners.

There is more to an IIT education than passing the JEE and attending classes. The synergy of putting together a bunch of proven bright youngsters can yield lasting benefits.

One reason for the phenomenal success of the IIT Brand is the tough entrance process.

Replacing the tough JEE with a common engineering exam will certainly weaken the challenge and the hurdle. A large country like India needs to have a mechanism to identify top notch talent that has the best aptitude for engineering.

However, the present JEE has some serious deficiencies. It unfairly denies a chance to youngsters without access/resources to JEE coaching. Likewise, (I maybe incorrect here, recalling from my own JEE long ago), it is not fair to students who did not study in the English medium. Access and resources may both be effectively addressed in the present environment by setting up an Internet-based reasonably priced coaching facility. Those kids who still cannot afford it may be supported through government scholarships and private sponsorships. The online environment lends itself easily to coaching in multiple languages so that the bright youngster may learn in the language of choice.

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It is heartening to see your perseverance.  It is an undeniable fact that each one of us who went through the IIT system has enjoyed being an IITian, especially in front of the family and friends. So we should certainly save the JEE.

I have a strong suspicion that the software services sector that recruits a lot of engineers these days, does not care where the students come from and they would like to improve the overall quality rather than excellence, by broad basing the access to facilities.  Maybe there are exceptions.

My personal view is that abolishing centers of excellence would help only in creation of better and better slaves and not masters.  The critical aspirational inputs would be missing.  No wonder no one is interested in creation of products and services and systems but only in running them or helping others to run them!

We are indeed facing Colonialisation 2.0, if I may use the phrase! I do understand that we are in an interdependent world and we have to contribute and not merely enjoy the fruits and hence I do believe that Indians have to rise up as a creative super power in a positive way.  Weeding out the servile attitudes amongst the intelligentsia is very important and hence, we have to be able to oppose a Sibal or even a Manmohan and have our say!

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Why the JEE should not be scrapped:

1.  The purpose of IITs should be a little bit different from those of other engineering colleges and hence a different entrance examination.
2.  The brand value of IITs has been created, to a large extent, by the JEE as the JEE has acted as a good filter.  So we should not fix something that isn't broke.
3.  Aping a more prosperous society like USA sans their resources, would only put India back.  We need to be able to "Leap-frog" and having a different system of driving our society "up" the technology track is very much needed.
4.  There is a need for an aspirational target for all.  It is better to improve the IITs working so that it becomes equal to the brand image it has come to represent. This includes a critical review of the reservation policies, funding, meritocracy, etc.  Do we have reservation in Indian cricket team?  If not then why in education if we expect performance and excellence. (Sorry for digression here.)

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Why HRD is hell bent on scrapping JEE:

1.  They think that aping US would be seen as positive inside the Congress hierarchy(??), and most politicians have no idea of meritocracy and the so-called young Turks, the scions of yester year politicians, have all studied in US schools based on non-merit admissions.  I am sure none of them would disclose their GRE or GMAT marks!!
2.  A common test can be diluted and controlled from outside the IIT.
3.  Any centralization would bestow increased power to the central government.
4.  One more diversion from the actual issues to keep the "Janta" busy and the youngsters hopes up - they can say that they have brought IIT within the reach of common public - though it already is!!

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why JEE should not be scrapped
an entrance exam, in principle, is the fairest way of giving the most meritocratic an even chance, irrespective of pedigree of institution, economic status, social background indeed  if the current method allows for any form of "beating the system", then what is essential is to plug the loophole but not throw the baby out with the bathwater !

Humanity is yet to come out (unfortunately) with a better way of testing knowledge accumulated by an individual and his ability to apply it in a short manageable period of time, other than by way of an examination. This is unfortunate but true.

Given this, a system of testing the accumulated knowledge and providing a fair entry into a limited number of academic seats available is unavoidable. One may argue about using the historic performance but again unfortunately, standards vary, and even more importantly, what we do know for certain is the level of knowledge needed to be able to go through the IIT academic rigour, post entrance.

universities elsewhere ... the top ones at least, do expect candidates to sit for entrance exam such as SATS, GRE, or GMAT. I can't see why IITs should be any different if they wish to remain among the academically accomplished universities !

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1.   Discarding the JEE because some coaching classes have managed to beat the system, is like throwing out the baby with the bath water :
2.   Modify JEE to frustrate the coaching classes, don’t discard it.

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1.  Without JEE it can't be understood how to separate the students with a problem solving ability from the rest.
2.   It was JEE's question style which was then observed to all other engineering colleges entrance exam.

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IITs are IITs not just because of IITs alone.
IITs are IITs because of IITians.
1.   IIT-JEE is the process which selects IITians.
2.   To separate wheat from chaff, you do need a strong separating procedure. There are two kinds of engineers in the country - IITians and Non-IITians.
3.   IIT-JEE is not just an entrance examination. It's a transformational process of 2 years whereby an adolescent with a spark, tastes a challenge and brings him up to the intended levels of competence.

*** Personally, I feel that the drive to remove IIT-JEE is driven from bigger intentions:
a) The Brand IIT is the vocal and powerful strength of India in modern day global economy.
b) The rise of the IITians and thereby of India (indirectly though) is sending shivers down the spine of Western Establishments. Dilute the brand, break them apart.
c) The policy makers who are largely IAS officers, want to retain their hegemony. They feel at odds in front of IITians who can be good at everything because of their basic training and IIT-JEE is the process which had given that intellectual idealism.
d) The prestige and transparency which IIT-JEE enjoys has to be diluted in order to open channels for private universities and utterly commercialize the higher-education system. The way increasing the fee of IITs during M M Joshi's regime was a mechanism of increasing the fee in private techno-managerial institutions. You need to dilute and wreck an establishment which has awe and reverence in public eye, and then make your way out.

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1.  Original five IITs were operated in joint collaboration with UNESCO, USA, UK, West Germany and Russia making them world class. IITs had the best campuses, best Laboratories, best work shops and attracted the best teachers from all over India (also highly paid those days) to teach the best of the best amongst lakhs & Lakhs of students nation wide, selected through a flawless and fair JEE.
2.  Diamonds: IIT’s picked the best uncut diamonds amongst the national treasures and cut and polished them over five (later four) long years making them priceless creating a Global demand.
3.  90’000 students ( I am not sure how many B.Techs out of 175000 IITians ) had to clear the tough JEE to qualify to be trained at the five top IITs in the last 50 years.
4.  Scrap JEE, and replace it with a Common national exam, B.Tech Degree will drop in value overnight and in a matter of years the IIT Brand will vanish and good faculty will also leave for greener pastures.
5.  Key Ingredient: The Key Ingredient to IIT success is the quality of the student intake who perform best in JEE every year.
6.  Flaws in JEE : It appears that JEE standards have been compromised by the very people meant to guard the system. The system is not at fault but people who violated ethics. Should JEE be scrapped or should the people who violated the rules be brought to task and JEE fortified further, is the million dollar question. Can we cut the nose off to spite the face ? Can we throw the baby away with the bath water.
7.  Coaching Schools: Teaching in high schools fell very short of the standards required to succeed in JEE. This gave rise to coaching schools to meet a demand from students determined to get into IITs and parents willing to spend big money demanded by coaching schools. Coaching schools did nothing wrong and nothing illegal.  Half the nation sees the coaching schools as evil entities preventing students from the poorer sector from succeeding. The other view is that the coaching schools in fact are serving the nation by preparing capable students for JEE. One way to address this problem would be to give coaching schools the recognition they deserve allowing coaching school to become High Schools. If this happens these very same coaching schools will out perform all public and private high schools nationally in the long run. The same coaching schools based on excellence at teaching will also become icons like IITs providing highly trained minds to enter Universities. Once coaching schools become recognised / accredited as high schools meeting national criteria we will have no one to blame for the quality of students who get into IITs by clearing JEE.
8.  Current students lack creativity: This is what I have heard from many faculty members at IITs. If you are an outsider you have to accept this statement from faculty as gospel . Yet if we think through carefully all factors affecting current crop of students at IIT.  How true is this statement is the question ?
9.  In the 60’s 70’s and 80’s students joined IITs to become engineers and we did. The few who were not happy to continue as engineers did their MBA’s and a good percentage went abroad to do their masters and doctorate and have becomes academics in US universities.. This was again supply meeting demand in USA for Indian students to fill up post graduates seats in USA, seats that locals did not feel excited about.
10.                90’s started the Dot.com boom and B Tech students were lured by opportunity to work in the IT & Finance sector and to earn big bucks. Students were using B Tech as a stepping stone to a successful career in IT & Finance Industry. Engineering was furthest in their minds. This meant that the students were not interested in the least bit in what was being taught by faculty members. The lack of interest in civil, metallurgy, Mech, elec and aero engg etc etc was wrongly seen by faculty as students lacking creativity. The truth may be they could not be bothered with what was being taught. They were focused on teaching themselves programming in the hostels.
11.                B. Tech had ceased to be an engineering degree to the majority of students who were eyeing lucrative jobs in the IT  or the Finance sector after completing MBA.
12.                To say that current crop of IIT students lack creativity cannot be true. If it is true then JEE failed to select creative students. Not the fault of coaching schools is it ?

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Thanks for your efforts in e-networking the IIT alumni for so many years and reaching out to everyone on such important issues.  

When I was doing research for my second IIT book, I had read the "2004 IIT Review" report. As you know, the "IIT Act" states that every ten years or so, the President of India (as the "Visitor") must ask for a review of the IIT system. The 2004 Review was the fourth such review and it was the first time that the JEE system was reviewed, and it came out with full support for the JEE exam.

This review was done by a committee of highly respected persons like Prof. Rama Rao, former Vice Chancellor, University of Hyderabad, R. Chidambaram, then Principal Scientific Advisor; Dr G. Mehta, Director Indian Institute of Science; Dr S.K.Joshi, National Physical Laboratory; A. Mahindra, Chairman Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd; and C.K.Birla, Chairman Hindustan Motors, and they had concluded that

- The system which has been put into place to conduct the JEE exam should NOT be disturbed
- A group be formed of senior IIT professors who have been associated with the JEE to look into some reforms (online JEE exams etc)

I am quoting some words of praise from this committee
- JEE is "singularly responsible for accomplishing the brand image of India.”
- "at one time, the ICS and later the IAS examinations enjoyed a great reputation and those that withstood the pressure and succeeded in the selection.. shone as visionary builders of our institutions” and that JEE has eclipsed these and other competitive exams and made the IITs "a cradle for India’s future leaders.”

I assume the MHRD is in the process of implementing these recommendations and hoping it will constitute a "JEE review commitee" as suggested by this report. My suggestion is that besides IIT professors, the JEE review committee also include some voices of the alumni (such as you)..

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Why JEE should not be scrapped ?
1) It is probably the most competitive exam in the world and has proved itself, given the phenomenal success of IITians the world over. What more reason is needed ?
2) Replacing it by a common exam just wont work. The exams needed to separate out the top 1% of students, and all of 100% of students have to be radically different, and one size fits all just wont do the job as well as the JEE has been doing.
3) The problems of the JEE (corruption, fixing things etc)
have to be dealt with stringently and the guilty punished. Throwing the baby with the bath water is just not the solution.
4) IITs,  institutes based on merit, and JEE the exam which determines who has that merit, is India's last hope (to fix this country).

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My reasons for why IIT - JEE should not be abolished are along the same lines as my earlier post to you.
1) All the original IITs were put up, obtaining aid from major industrialized nations.
2) We can make the assumption that the IITs represent the best in engineering education in India today.
3) This being the case, the IITs need to set the standards for top tier engineering education.
4) The other top engineering colleges can attach themselves to IIT - JEE, thus converting the exam into a common engineering entrance exam.

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Why JEE should not be abolished.
1.  Without a common exam, properly run, by the stakeholders who are IITS themselves,  there is no way to rate students covered by different systems in the country.
2.  JEE tests ( it should test as was in earlier years) basic knowledge and intelligence required to study in IIT.
3.  It tests ( it should test as was in earlier years) the innovative approach to solve unknown problems
4.  It tests ( it should test as was in earlier years) basic  knowledge in English language
5.  Although I feel JEE should not be abolished, the present method of  setting of questions should be abolished and replaced by new system.  
6.  A test which determines winners with cut off as low as 5% to 30 %  is not a test at all. It is equally defective as everyone getting 100%.
7.  The test should be framed such that all those selected should score above 60%.
8.  Today the professors exhibit their intelligence by setting puzzle like questions which in a short time a candidate can not answer unless vigorously trained earlier in similar track.
9.  Test the fundamentals and make it simple. T
10.                There is a need to innovate in the area of framing questions. Questions on general knowledge on science subjects will bring out aptitude  of students


The reasons you believe HRD wants to abolish JEE.

11.                HRD has started the OBC quota system which will not succeed if you do not abolish JEE.
12.                Abolishing JEE will lead to malpractices in admission, leading to openings for corrupt politicians .
13.                It is a populist vote catching initiative  to lure public as none likes to go through the hard grind.

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I have difficulty coming up with one liners for this. I have a single
reason which is multi-liner, as follows.

1.   IITs are meant to cater to the brightest students.
2.   IITs have to select approximately 1% out of the 800,000 or so who will go on to do engineering every year. Any exam that is meant to rank / select the 800,000 from the total college bound population will not work to select the top 1% out of this, so a separate exam is needed.
3.   Since discrimination is needed at this level, the exam has to be made tougher so this top 1% of the specturm is spread out sufficiently.
4.   IITs have been doing this (at smaller numbers of test takers - about 400,000 as of now) and as a matter of academic freedom, IITs should continue to do this i.e. design and run the exam that will select the input (academic freedom "who to teach to").

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1.  JEE is a great exam and it should not be scrapped, there is no question about it.
2.  But this JEE has been watered down by the Kotas and Ramaiahs, just as much as someone publishing a book on solutions to "Problems in Electrical Engineering" book by Parker Smith.  You will appreciate the relevance of Parker Smith if you were also a EE student.
3.  JEE has become a matter of prestige for the parents than the students, so much so that, right from primary school there are coaching centres that train the kids to solve problems beyond their capacity.  This is being done depriving them of simple pleasures of childhood.  I am 54 years of age and this kind of madness did not exist at the time when we were students.
4.  In the process, kids with superior raw intelligence are not getting into IITs. Kids are ignoring the 12th class (PUC 2nd year) and concentrating only on JEE.

Here are my suggestions:
1.  Have 80% as the cut-off marks in 12th class / PUC 2nd year as the minimum qualifying marks for JEE rank to be considered by IITs.
2.  Conduct JEE as it is now.
3.  Allow only those students who are appearing for the 12th class / PUC 2nd year in a given year to appear for that year's JEE.
4.  Do not allow students who have passed 12th class / PUC 2nd year in the previous years. Do not allow students who have done B.Sc., or Diploma or any other degree to appear for JEE.

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I joined IIT, Madras in 1963 after an interview process (in the 3-year B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering). In our minds the interview process was a better way to judge students and we liked it. With national integration being our primary goal those days, selecting the top two or three candidates from each state was acceptable. But that could not continue for long and the JEEs came into existence.

In my view JEEs are responsible for the ultimate success of several hundreds of thousands students who try hard to get in to the IITs but fail to do so at the end. But they manage to get a good grasp on science and mathematics from their efforts. They join other schools and do well. I know several young boys and girls in Chennai who could not get in to the IITs but are doing well in engineering, thanks to the rigors of institutional coaching.

I am also glad that the Center is attempting to increase the number of IITs and is also attempting to increase the enrollment in the existing IITS. This will provide opportunities for more young students to join them and excel.

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" Reasons why JEE should not be abolished"
1.   The vast majority who graduate from the Institutions of excellence would never dream of abolishing the JEE. But that is obvious and natural to come from "us"
2.   What we need to demolish is the argument favouring this move  and to do this, understand who are the advocates,and what their intentions are and how powerful they are.
3.   Let us answer the three questions, to enable us prepare a sound petition. That would bring us to the next big question. Having drafted this petition, how would we plan to pilot this.
Let us answer these questions to get the way ahead.

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JEE is about the best administered competitive selection exam, in its circumstances.

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1.  I think IITs have done an irreplaceable job in honing the skills of the top sixteen-year-olds across the country and training them for 5 years.
2.  Recently I read somewhere that if you have to name a single individual who deserves the credit for America's great engineering strides in the last century, perhaps SP Timoshenko tops the list. Similarly if you want to credit an education system for putting India on the world map, producing teaching personnel of a reasonably good standard, and a research culture, IITs, IMHO, run away with the cake.
3.  Recently I attended a one-day conference at IITM on NPTEL wherein the idea is to disseminate the knowledge of reputed professors to all engineering colleges at a nominal cost. This kind of service,I think, only IITs will think of doing, and not the University colleges and certainly not the private colleges.
4.  I shudder to think what will happen to engineering education in India if the IIT system is diluted further.

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Here are the reasons which come to my mind.

1. Maintain Excellence: JEE helps maintain a high bar in the selection process and helps filter the top 2%. This excellence filter needs to be preserved.
2. University Autonomy: The university should have the authority to select the model (exam) using which it had like to filter the students.
3. Choice to the Student: The student should have a choice in the exams he had like to appear for. It should be a single point of failure with just one exam available. This is more of a reason for why one should not have Common Entrance Test, rather than a reason for not abolishing JEE.
4. Cost of change: There are costs at multiple levels that need to sustain. Cost of implementing the new process, cost of sunsetting the old process and the destroying the legacy that it created for the past 50 yrs. Cost of brand change to the whole world.
5. Proof of effectiveness: How is it proved or anticipated that the new process is effective and efficient, compared to JEE. If it is believed or proved that JEE is not performing on certain parameters then the first step should be to correct its course (by being backward compatible with policies) rather than scrap it out.

I would like to see us put forward a message which finds a common ground for both the parties, where-in JEE should sustain by adapting itself to a meet the new requirements, which that other party thinks, is missing.

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1. The JEE is an integral part of a filtering process that aims to maximise the intake of students capable of finishing a demanding degree course in engineering
2. There is a very limited number of seats available, and the JEE serves its purpose
3. Neither is the JEE as it stands suitable to act as a filter for all engineering/medical/science college applicants, nor will a general examination (other than the existing school certificates) work well as a specialised filter for the IITs
4. If the JEE fails to ensure an adequate number of underprivileged students get admission, the admission criteria need adjustment, not the test (some news reports indicate this could be one factor influencing the call for change)
5. The JEE by itself needs urgent modifications in order to defeat the ploys used by coaching classes (which actually exploit its design weaknesses). This has no bearing on any proposal to remove the JEE and force the IITs to accept a filter system designed and administered by an independent third party
6. If the national imperative calls for marked policy changes, those should be spelled out clearly, and the IITs asked to adjust their admission procedures accordingly. If the need for such policy change has already been announced, this needs to be debated separately, independent of political 'noise' about the JEE and who administers it