Ritika Chopra | Mail Today | New Delhi, May 21, 2012 | UPDATED 10:49 IST
A cloud of uncertainty has descended on the fate of the proposed common engineering entrance test.
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal's target to introduce the examination in 2013 now seems unachievable as six out of seven IIT senates have out rightly rejected the idea. This sentiment was conveyed to the HRD Ministry on May 12 during a meeting with the IIT directors.
But what's even more unsettling for his ministry is the fact that the IIT faculty hasn't given an absolute assurance to come on board even in 2014. "Introducing the test next year is not acceptable to them. But what, unfortunately, still isn't clear if they want to join the test at least in 2014," said a ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.
According to sources, the government now has two options. The first is to implement the test next year without the IITs and treat it as a dry-run (with the NITs and IIITs on board) for the proper launch in 2014. As per the original plan, the single entrance test in its first edition was to be valid for all centrally-funded engineering institutes including 15 IITs, 30 NITs, 4 IIITs, IISERs and a few deemed universities.
The second option would be to defer the test completely till 2014. Both options, however, don't seem too appetising as conducting the exam without the IITs in the first year would be a big blow to a project that has been dubbed as Sibal's dream.
The second alternative is not viable either as the minister is skeptical of launching the test in the election year. Sibal had made his skepticism clear during a meeting of the state chief ministers in January this year as he felt that a change of power at the centre in 2014 might not augur well for the future of this test.
While a final decision on this matter will only be taken on May 28 after a meeting of the IIT and NIT Council, the government, as a last ditch effort will try and meet the IIT faculty representatives once before the Council meeting.
The rationale behind the common entrance exam for engineering is to reduce psychological and financial stress on students because of multiple entrance tests and give more importance to Class 12 results than private coaching.
The IIT faculty has expressed their objection against the use of Board marks. All IITs have said board exam performance "will not be used for the preparation of the final merit list in respect of admission to IITs.